[CWG scam] Corruption is a 'silent killer' in society: Delhi High Court rejects plea filed by accused VK Verma against CBI Court order

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The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to set aside the order of the Special CBI Court framing charges of cheating, corruption, and criminal conspiracy against Commonwealth Games (CWG) scam accused VK Verma, the Director General (DG) of the organizing committee of CWG 2010.

Court was dealing with a revision petition filed by Verma challenging the order dated July 24, 2017 of the Special CBI Judge, Patiala House courts.

Tabling the order, the bench of Justice Chandra Dhari Singh remarked that corruption is a ‘silent killer’ in society and a serious economic issue that is adversely affecting the country’s economic development and inhibits the achievement of developmental goals by promoting inequality and inefficiency in the allocation of resources.

“It adds to the deprivation of the poor and weaker sections of the society. Therefore, every effort should be made to eradicate the same. At the end of the day, it is society and the downtrodden who bear the pangs of the corrupt acts of a few. If the court below finds that evidence against an accused is prima facie sufficient for framing of charge, then it has the jurisdiction to proceed with the same concerned accused must face trial,” Justice Singh added.

The CBI Court had framed charges against Verma under Sections 420 and 120B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) read with Sections 13(1) (d) and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. It is alleged that while being the Director General (DG) of the organizing committee of CWG 2010, along with other officers Verma entered into a criminal conspiracy with the Director of a company named Premier Brands Private Limited (PBPL) and Chairman of Compact Disc India Ltd. and others.

Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Prasanta Varma appearing for the CBI apprised the high court that the office bearers of the Organising Committee scrapped the process of initial Request for Proposal (RFP) on flimsy grounds after receipt of the proposal of PBPL, to extend undue favor to it by appointing the said company as Official Master Licensee for Merchandising and Online and Retail Concessionaire for the games against a minimum royalty amount of Rs 7.05 crores.

However, the company, after earning a huge amount from the CWG band properties did not pay anything to the committee and the cheque amounting to Rs. 3.525 crores was dishonored by the bank on instructions from PBPL, which caused pecuniary advantage to Suresh Kumar Seenghal and PBPL and loss to the government exchequer, SPP told.

Taking note of the facts of the case, Court observed that examination of material on record showed that Verma was interested in bringing his co-accused in the bidding process for the merchandising and license program and had raised frivolous objections to get the first RFP annulled.

“By the instant petition, rather than pointing out patent irregularities, the petitioner is asking the revisional court to critically examine and analyze the evidence on record which is a matter of trial and cannot be examined at this stage. The petitioner has been unable to satisfy why this court should use its revisionary jurisdiction and quash the charges framed against the petitioner," Court further pointed out.

Therefore, observing that a prima facie case against Verma could not be ruled out, Court dismissed his petition for being devoid of merit.

Verma, Suresh Kalmadi, and Lalit Bhanot are considered to be the kingpin of the Commonwealth Games Scam. While Kalmadi was the chairman of the Organising Committee, Bhanot was its secretary-general. Verma has been the president of the Badminton Association of India also. He was at the post for nearly a decade and a half and finally resigned when he was named in the Commonwealth Games Scam.

Case Title: VK Verma v. Central Bureau of Investigation