The Madras High Court has upheld the four-year jail term awarded to former IAS officer H M Pandey in a disproportionate wealth case and ordered confiscation of his properties, observing that it was unavoidable in order to curb rampant corruption.
Justice A Selvam passed the order while allowing a plea of the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption for consfication and rejecting an appeal by Pandey challenging his conviction by a special court in the case related to alleged amassment of wealth to the tune of over Rs one crore disproportionate to known sources of his income during 1985-1997.
"Confiscation of the ill-gotten property is unavoidable in order to curb the evil practice of corruption which has become rampant nowadays," the Judge observed in his order.
He also ordered that the state government to immediately confiscate the immovable properties listed by DVAC.
According to the DVAC charge sheet, during the check period of January 1, 1985 and May 31, 1997, Pandey, then Municipal Administration Secretary, had amassed properties worth Rs 1.05 crore for which he was unable to furnish source while his income was only Rs 19.86 lakh.
On March 2, 2001, the trial court found him guilty of offences under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and sentenced him to four years rigorous imprisonment and also imposed a fine of Rs one lakh.
It had also ordered forfeiture of the properties under Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance, 1944, and directed the recovery officer to recover it under Revenue Recovery Act.
While Pandey filed an appeal against the conviction and sentence passed, DVAC sought an order of confiscation saying the order of forfeiture could not be enforced easily.
Rejecting Pandey's plea, Justice Selvam said "from a cumulative reading of the evidence given by witnesses, the court can very well come to a conclusion that the accused by utilising money (not from known sources) has purchased various properties and also put up various constructions in the names of his son and the persons mentioned in the charge sheet.