'Financial irregularities': Court rejects bail plea of Agri officer

Anti corruption court here has rejected anticipatory bail application of a Sub-Divisional Agriculture Officer, Budgam, accused of financial irregularities, observing common man was fed up with the “corrupt system.”

After hearing special public prosecutors Ghulam Jeelani, Riaz Ahmad, and defence counsel, the special anti-corruption judge, RN Watal said, in recent times J&K has witnessed scams in majority of departments.

The court observed the allegations speak about petitioner’s despicable behavior, unbecoming of a public servant who with other officials of agricultural department fraudulently siphoned off public money that was specially meant for agriculture sector.

“The investigation in the case is in its embryonic stage and custodial interrogation of petitioner is essential to unearth truth. The involvement of other officials and politicians is obvious and investigation is on,” the court said.

It said admitting the petitioner to bail in anticipation of his arrest would definitely hamper investigation and petitioner may try to influence and intimidate the material witnesses.

The court observed in recent times, there have been scams in “majority of departments when funds allotted in huge amount have not reached to concerned, instead they have been siphoned off by officers and officials in conspiracy with heads of departments, under political patronage.”

“The public sentiment is involved in such scams and common man is fed up with this corrupt system. The courts cannot be oblivious to the public sentiment. Any concession of bail in favor of the petitioner shall not be taken in good taste by public and their faith in judicial system shall be shattered,” the court said.

It observed that from the report the complicity of the petitioner as “kingpin” with others in the scam was obvious and there were reasonable grounds for believing that accused have committed the offence.

“I’m of the considerate view that petitioner has failed to carve out a prima facie case for bail in anticipation of his arrest for indulgence of this court. The application as such is rejected,” the court said.

As per prosecution, the accused was holding the post of Sub-Divisional Agriculture Officer and in conspiracy other officials at Budgam, held training camps at various agricultural zones for implementing various centrally and state sponsored schemes, “only on papers.”

“Without actually holding these training camps, by manipulating the documents, withdrew the bills of expenditure of these training camps and caused huge loss to government exchequer.” The prosecution told the court that petitioner even manipulated the photographs of these training camps.