A special court here on Wednesday convicted former AIADMK Minister R Indira Kumari and her husband A Babu in a case of misappropriation of government funds to the tune of Rs 15 lakh and sentenced them to undergo Rigorous Imprisonment (RI) for five years each. Indira Kumari was the Social Welfare Minister during the check period of 1991-96 in the late J Jayalalithaa-led cabinet. Kumari had later joined the DMK in 2006.
N Alicia, the presiding officer of the Special Court for Hearing Cases Against MPs and MLAs, awarded the sentence after finding them guilty of offences under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) and imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 each on them, failing to pay which they have to undergo six months' RI, a CB-CID release said. The CB-CID had probed the case.
The couple was convicted "for 120 (B) IPC (criminal conspiracy) and 409 IPC (criminal breach of trust by public servant)," besides PCA, it said. The court also awarded three years imprisonment to retired IAS officer P Shanmugam and slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 fine on him, failing which he would have to undergo six months of Rigorous Imprisonment. He had then served as the Director of Rehabilitation of the Disabled.
The court acquitted the ex-minister's former Personal Assistant (PA) R Venkatakrishnan.
Immediately on pronouncement of the sentence, Kumari, who was present in the court hall, complained of breathing problems and was later admitted to the Government Royapettah Hospital in Chennai. The charges against another IAS officer R Kirubakaran, the then secretary of the Social Welfare department, were abated since he died during the trial.
According to the prosecution, the accused had connived with each other and misappropriated government funds of Rs 15.45 lakh allotted for floating two trusts-- Mercy Mother India Charitable Trust for running a special school for hearing impaired children in the then North Arcot Ambedkar district and an institution for severely orthopedically handicapped children by another organisation, Bharani Swathi Educational Trust, here. The accused committed criminal misconduct, it was alleged.
The case was registered in 1997, a year after the DMK came to power in 1996 and the chargesheet was filed in 2004.