A special court in Chennai today convicted former AIADMK Minister R Indira Kumari and her husband A Babu in a case of misappropriating government funds to the tune of ₹ 15 lakh and sentenced them to undergo Rigorous Imprisonment (RI) for five years each.
N Alicia, the presiding officer of the Special Court for Hearing Cases Against MPs and MLAs, awarded the sentence after finding the two guilty of offences under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
R Indira Kumari switched over to the DMK in 2006.
The court also awarded three years’ imprisonment to retired Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer P Shanmugam, who had then served as the Director of Rehabilitation of the Disabled and acquitted the ex-minister’s former Personal Assistant (PA) Venkatakrishnan, after imposing a fine of ₹ 10,000 on him.
R Indira Kumari was the Social Welfare minister during the period of 1991-96 in the J Jayalalithaa-led state cabinet.
Immediately after the sentence was pronounced, R Indira Kumari, who was present in the court hall, complained of breathing problems and was admitted to the Government Royapettah Hospital in Chennai.
The charges against another IAS officer Kirubakaran, the then Secretary of the Social Welfare department, were abated since he died during the trial.
According to the prosecution, the accused, in connivance with each other, had misappropriated government funds of ₹ 15.45 lakh allotted for floating two trusts – Mercy Mother India Charitable Trust for running a special school for hearing impaired children in the then North Arcot Ambedkar district and an institution for severely orthopedically handicapped children by Bharani Swathi Educational Trust in Chennai. The accused committed criminal misconduct, it was alleged.
The case was registered in 1997, a year after the DMK came to power in 1996 and the charge sheet was filed in 2004.