Sessions court imposes Rs 85 lakh fine, 10 yrs in jail for corrupt PWD official

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An efficient DSP Deputy too completed the probe in record time and submitted the chargesheet within 4 months from date of offence

The Hush Post: Setting a good precedent, a Mumbai sessions court has imposed a fine of Rs 85 lakh and a jail term of 10 years on a Public Works Department (PWD) Section Engineer caught taking a bribe. Another four years would be added to his jail term in case of non-payment of fine. It is the highest fine till now imposed by a special court under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA). “Under PCA, the maximum and minimum imprisonment have been prescribed, but there is no ceiling on fine; it is left to the judge’s discretion,” a senior IPS officer told a national daily.

The PWD official Ashok Keshavrao Munde, attached to the Shrirampur panchayat samiti, was caught accepting a bribe of Rs 1.5 lakh from a contractor on May 4, 2016. Munde had demanded 5% of a bill amount to release a cheque. It had been agreed that the complainant would hand over the bribe to Munde at the Ahmadnagar zilla parishad guest house. Munde reached the location and was caught red-handed.

The investigating officer, then Deputy Superintendent Irfan Shaikh, completed the probe in record time and submitted the chargesheet on September 2, 2016. The quick resolution of the corruption case lay in the fact that the ACB sleuths had submitted the charge sheet in less than four months from the date of offence and the court, too, disposed of the case on priority.

Delivering the verdict on Friday, Ahmadnagar sessions judge S U Baghele sentenced Munde to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment and handed a fine of Rs 50 lakh for offences under PCA section 13 (criminal misconduct by public servant and abuse of official position). Further, he imposed seven years’ rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 35 lakh under section 7 (public servant accepting bribe). The prison terms would run concurrently.

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