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Court acquits ex-MCD councillor in graft case

Statesman News Service |

A former Congress MCD councillor and her husband have been acquitted by a special court of the alleged charge of demanding a bribe of over Rs.50,000 from a person to allow him construct a house here.

Special CBI Judge Sanjay Garg-I absolved Veena Saini, ex-councillor from East Nangloi constituency, and her husband Naresh Saini, saying the prosecution has failed to prove its case against them.

"Prosecution has failed to prove that accused no. 2 (Naresh) had demanded Rs.50,000 from the complainant for not demolishing the structure raised by him on his four plots," the court said.

The court acquitted Naresh of charges under section 9 (taking gratification for exercise of personal influence with public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Veena under section 10 (punishment for abetment by public servant of offences defined in section 8 or 9) of the PC Act.

The couple were arrested by CBI in May 2007 and later granted bail by the court.

While Naresh was arrested first when he was allegedly accepting Rs.25,000 as the first installment of the bribe, the former councillor was picked up later.

According to the CBI, a resident of Nangloi in West Delhi had sent a complaint to the agency alleging that Saini and her husband were demanding Rs.51,600 from him as protection money.

The complainant had said both of them had threatened that they would use their influence with the MCD and government officials to harass him in constructing his house and using the sewerage connection, unless he paid up.

The complainant pleaded with Veena’s husband to accept the first installment of Rs 25,000 at his office.

It had alleged that initially, lakh was demanded, of which Rs.50,000 was for permitting construction on the plots and Rs.50,000 as sewer charges. The complainant was threatened that if he did not pay the bribe to Naresh, the sewer connection would be disrupted and the construction demolished.

Later, Naresh settled the amount at Rs.51,600 and agreed to obtain first installment of Rs.25,000 in his office.

During trial, the couple denied all allegations and claimed that being a woman Municipal councillor, several persons had political rivalry with her, for which they were implicated.