Mizoram: NRHM Former director, Health dept engineer gets jail term for fund misappropriation
Aizawl: Holding two former health officials guilty in a graft case, the Special Court (Prevention of Corruption Act) in Aizawl on Monday sentenced the former mission director of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) to four years of imprisonment imposing a fine of Rs 24 lakh and Former executive engineer of the Mizoram Health Department sentenced to 1 year of imprisonment with Rs 6...
Aizawl: Holding two former health officials guilty in a graft case, the Special Court (Prevention of Corruption Act) in Aizawl on Monday sentenced the former mission director of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) to four years of imprisonment imposing a fine of Rs 24 lakh and Former executive engineer of the Mizoram Health Department sentenced to 1 year of imprisonment with Rs 6 lakh fine.
The pair were found guilty of misappropriating government funds to the tune of Rs. 5.74 crores meant for the upgradation of the Civil Hospital in Aizawl. The two accused former government officials were sent to the Central Jail at Tanhril near Aizawl before the court announced their punishment on May 15.
The former NRHM Mission Director was convicted on Friday by the Special Judge HTC Lalrinchhana under sections 471/477A of the Indian Penal Code and under sections 13 (2) read with 13 (1) (c) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 read with 120B of the IPC. However, he was acquitted under sections 420/468 of the IPC due to lack of evidence.
The former executive engineer of the state health department was also convicted under section 13 (2) read with 13 (1) (c) (d) of PC Act, 1988 read with 120B IPC and u/s 471/477A read with 120B IPC. However, due to a lack of evidence, he was acquitted u/s 420/468 of IPC.
Considering their criminal conspiracy against the government funds, the court ruled the NRHM director to four years of imprisonment with a fine of Rs 24 lakh for three different convictions. Whereas the former engineer has been sentenced to 1-year imprisonment and a fine of Rs 6 lakh due to the crime being comparatively lower than the director.
Ruling the decision for the former director, the court said "Being an old and retired government servant and not likely to repeat similar offences, all the aforesaid sentences except fine shall run concurrently."
"Leniency is shown to the engineer due to less gravity of offence than the convicted director involving less quantum of corrupted money," added the court.
As per a media report in Nagaland Tribune, the former director was arrested after being accused of diverting the funds for another purpose, issuing fake work orders and accepting bills with forged signatures and abusing his power and position to carry out the crime.
The matter came to light after the Utilization Certificate’ submitted by the State Health Society of Aizawl for the expenditure of Rs. 5.74 crores was not accepted by the central government. The matter was then handed over to the CBI in January 2014.
The charge sheet presented by the CBI, revealed that the State Health Society of Mizoram had received Rs. 10.00 crore from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for the specific purpose of upgradation of Civil Hospital Aizawl from National Rural Health Mission-III Division, New Delhi. Out of the total of Rs 10.00 crore, only Rs. 4.26 crore was utilized for the purpose it was meant for and the remaining amount of Rs. 5.74 Crore was utilized outside the ambit of the purpose it was sanctioned.
After the investigation, CBI had filed a chargesheet on September 30, 2015, against both the accused in the court of Special Judge, Aizwal, for causing a loss of Rs 29,48,819.
The investigation also revealed the involvement of the engineer with the director which caused a major loss to the government due to the funds being misused for personal purposes apart from upgrading the hospital.
Demanding strict punishment for the duo, a senior special public prosecutor for CBI pleaded "The nature of the offence is a type of violation of human rights (Right to health) as the corrupted fund was received for the improvement of health infrastructure in the state, this court could not overlook the daily medical hindrances facing by the needy and deprived sections in the society," TOI reports.
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