Chennai: A special court here Wednesday convicted former AIADMK Minister R Indira Kumari and her husband A Babu in a case of misappropriation of government funds to the tune of Rs 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 them guilty of offences under various sections of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act. Kumari later joined the DMK in 2006.
The court also awarded three years imprisonment to retired 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 Rs 10,000 on him.
Indira Kumari was the Social Welfare minister during the check period of 1991-96 in the late J Jayalalithaa-led cabinet.
Immediately on pronouncement of the sentence, Kumari, who was present in the court hall, complained of breathing problems and was later admitted to the Government Royapettah Hospital here.
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 had connived with each other and misappropriated government funds of Rs 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 another organisation, Bharani Swathi Educational Trust, here. 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 chargesheet was filed in 2004.