SRINAGAR Two former officials of government agriculture production department who are in their late seventies have been convicted and sentenced to one years jail and varied fines by a Special Judge, Anti-Corruption Kashmir, after fifteen years of trial in connection with a corruption case.
Prosecution has succeeded in proving charge that accused abused their position as public servants by engaging daily rated workers, hatching conspiracy, in complete disregard to SRO 64 and Order 26-F promulgated by the Govt. that envisaged prohibition on engagement of daily rated workers and casual workers in Government Departments and these engagements were also dehors to rules and regulations of the recruitment procedure, the Judge R. N. Watal said while convicting and sentencing Gulam Mohi-din Koul (the then Chief Agriculture Officer Srinagar) and Abdul Samad Khan (Senior Assistant).
Koul was sentenced to simple Imprisonment for one year and fine of Rs.2,00,000 in default thereof he has been ordered to undergo Simple imprisonment for a further period of one month under 5(2) of prevention of corruption act;
Also he has been imprisoned to simple Imprisonment six months and fine of Rs.10,000 in default thereof he would undergo Simple Imprisonment for a further period of one month under 120-B of RPC. Both these sentences have been ordered to run concurrently.
The court sentenced Khan to simple Imprisonment for one year and fine of Rs 20,000 and in default thereof he has been ordered to undergo Simple imprisonment for a further period of one month under 5(2) of prevention of corruption act.
The court took a lenient view, observing that it cannot be oblivious of the fact that the convicts had no bad antecedents and have already undergone agony of trial for period more than fifteen years as well. Moreover the convicts are in their late seventies and though there is nothing on file to substantiate that accused are suffering from any disease but old age is itself a disease, the court added.
The charge sheet owed its origin to a complaint of additional secretary to Government Agriculture Production Department on 1 July 1997 addressed to Commissioner Vigilance Organization Kashmir (VOK) against the then Chief Agriculture Officer Srinagar Gh.Mohidin Koul revealing therein that delinquent officer issued orders of appointment and Engagement of daily rated workers in violation of the Government SRO 64 dated 24.3.94 and Government order no. 26-F dated 31.1.94 with the help of Abdul Samad Khan, Senior Assistant of the Agriculture department besides a Junior Assistant, who has died since.
Convicts were responsible to uphold the public faith and trust of the posts they were holding in the department concern. Instead, they eroded the same despite the fact that the convicts had a long experience in government service and were educated and holding an administrative post particularly accused Gulam Mohidin Koul capable of understanding well all consequences of his acts in engaging the daily rated workers that too at the fag end of his services keeping the SRO 64 and Order 26 that envisaged prohibition on engagement of daily rated workers at bay, the court said.
Good ethical behavior on part of those who are in power is the hallmark of good administration and people in public life specially in administration must perform their duties in spirit of public service rather than by assuming power to indulge in callous cupidity regardless of self imposed discipline, the court said. But the accused have completely disregarded the ethics and criminal misconduct were committed by the convicts, public servants, with cool calculation and deliberate design with an eye on personal profit regardless of the consequence to the Government Exchequer and/or Community.