A CBI court had convicted Vaikundarajan for criminal conspiracy and under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Managing partner of VV Minerals S Vaikundarajan
news Court Tuesday, February 23, 2021 - 10:05

A special CBI court in Delhi sentenced three persons including S Vaikundarajan, managing partner of VV  Minerals, Subbulakshmi, an employee of VV Minerals and Neeraj Khatri, the then Deputy Director of Ministry of Environment and Forests to imprisonment in a corruption case on Monday. The court sentenced Vaikundarajan to three years imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh fine. Neeraj Khatri was sentenced to five years in prison and Rs 5 lakh fine, while Subbulakshmi was handed a three-year jail term and Rs 2 lakh fine. VV Minerals was also fined Rs 10 lakh. 

The CBI alleged that Khatri the then Deputy Director of Ministry of Environment and Forest (now Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change) accepted a bribe of Rs 4.13 lakh through a bank demand draft (DD) in the name of VIT University to get a seat for his son Siddharth Khatri at the instance of Vaikundarajan. In return, the CBI alleged that Khatri expedited the environmental clearance for a SEZ project in Tirunelveli district. 

According to a report in The Hindu, VV Minerals submitted its application to the Ministry of Environment and Forest’s central registry and marked the Impact Assessment (IA)-III division. When the company received an acknowledgement receipt, it submitted the same to the IA-II division, instead of the IA-III division as Khatri was posted in the former. 

Khatri then went on to forward the receipt with a note “to be considered in the next EAC (Expert Appraisal Committee meeting urgent,” reports The Hindu. The CBI also noted that Khatri had earlier been caught accepting a bribe of Rs 7 lakh in another case on January 16, 2013.

As far as Subbulakshmi’s involvement is concerned, the CBI alleged that she had booked air tickets for Khatri and his son from Delhi to Chennai and back. The agency said that she had been hired on a contract basis between 2011 to 2013 to help obtain environmental clearances for VV Minerals.

The court convicted all three on February 1.  Neeraj Khatri, Vaikundarajan and Subbulakshmi were convicted for criminal conspiracy (IPC 120 B) and under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act. 

Show us some love! Support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.