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Former Customs official convicted

S. Vijay Kumar

"Valuables seized during a raid were disproportionate to his sources of income"

Staff Reporter

MADURAI: A former Collector of Customs and Central Excise was sentenced to undergo three years rigorous imprisonment by a special court here on Friday.

According to the prosecution, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conducted searches on the premises of Mahesh Chandra Sharma, Collector of Customs and Central Excise, Tiruchi, on February 15, 1989, and seized cash, jewels, fixed deposits and other valuables worth Rs. 63.95 lakh.

The contention of the prosecution was that the assets were disproportionate to the known sources of income.

He was charged under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

Delivering the judgement, the Principal Special Judge for CBI cases, C.V. Karthikeyan, said, "It is unfortunate that the career of a high ranking public servant has come to this state. The evidence against him has been found very convincing. The accused claimed benefit as he had been a high ranking Class `A' officer. This is all the more reason why this court had to pass an order of this nature, confiscating practically all the ill-gotten gains to the State."

Mr. Karthikeyan also imposed a fine of Rs. 5 lakh. "The accused has misused his position as a senior official of the Government of India when he should have set an example to others," the judge added.

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