Tainted blow to widow

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By SAMANWAYA RAUTRAY in Delhi
  • Published 29.08.07
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New Delhi, Aug. 29: Nearly two decades after a clerk was convicted by Madhya Pradesh High Court of receiving a bribe, the Supreme Court has rejected his widow’s appeal to clear his name so that she can get his pension.

The apex court “appreciated” the fact that her husband’s alleged misdeed would result in her losing his pension and other post-retirement benefits. “We are, however, helpless,” a bench of Justices C.K. Thakker and Tarun Chatterjee said on Monday.

Girija Prasad Gupta, a lower division clerk at an ayurveda treatment centre in Jabalpur, was caught by Lok Ayukta officials while accepting Rs 200, allegedly on his superior’s behalf.

“The argument of ‘sympathy’ does not impress us and cannot carry the case further,” the bench said.

In 1989, Gupta had allegedly asked Anup Kumar, an ayurveda practitioner who was absent from duty during a surprise check, to either pay Rs 500 to his superior Ramanarain Rajoria or face suspension.

Kumar paid him Rs 300 the same day and later complained to the state Lok Ayukta, which laid a trap for him. Gupta was caught while he was taking the rest of the amount.

Gupta pleaded that he was innocent and had been “falsely implicated”.

A trial acquitted him on March 15, 1989, saying he was “merely a clerk” and “not in a position to oblige the complainant by not placing him under suspension”.

But the high court overturned the order on April 17, 2002, and sentenced Gupta to four months in jail. It also asked him to pay a fine of Rs 200.

The accused moved the apex court and was granted bail on September 2, 2002. By the time the case came up for final hearing in 2007, Gupta had died and his widow Munni Bai had stepped in as his legal heir to challenge his conviction.