Kashmir ex-minister jailed for three years for graft

New Delhi : Mohd. Dilawar Mir, former minister in Jammu and Kashmir, was sentenced to three years in jail and a fine of Rs.3.21 crore slapped by a court here in a 20-year-old corruption case.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge L.K. Gaur sentenced 67-year-old Mir after convicting him under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

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Though the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader was granted bail by the court, he will not be able to contest in the upcoming elections to the Jammu and Kashmir assembly.

The court in its Nov 1 order – that was released to the media Friday – held that the prosecution has been successful in proving that Dilbagh Singh Kanwar, the then general manager of National Fertilizers Ltd. (NFL), in conspiracy with Mir, had abused his position as a public servant by awarding a contract to the company Good Friends Agencies without having the power to do so.

Mir was then the proprietor of Good Friends Agencies, which was awarded the contract for sale of urea, the court said.

“In light of the fact that NFL suffered a loss in 1994 of Rs.30 lakh at the hands of the convict (Mir), in my opinion, it would be in the interest of justice that a suitable compensation be awarded to NFL for the said loss under the provision of the Code of Criminal Procedure,” the judge said.

Out of Mir’s fine amount, Rs.3.19 crore would be given to NFL as compensation.

The 77-year-old Dilbagh Singh was jailed for two and a half years.

The CBI registered a case against the two in 1998. It alleged that Kanwar abused his position as public servant to favour Mir, and as a result of a criminal conspiracy between the two, they had defrauded NFL, a government-owned company, of Rs.30 lakh and attempted to cheat NFL of over Rs.6.78 crore during 1993-96.

The agency said Kanwar awarded a handling and general services contract to Mir’s firm for sale of urea at an exorbitant rate in Haryana and Punjab without inviting tenders.

The court refused to grant leniency to Mir, sought on the grounds that he was leading an impeccable public life.

“Clean antecedents can become a reason for an ordinary person to be granted a lesser punishment, but in my opinion, the same standard, however, cannot be applied for people who have been ministers or are in public life,” the court said.

“Therefore, the fact that the convict has a clean record by itself will not become an extenuating factor in his case,” the court said.