Delhi HC suspends sentence against Jaya Jaitly in defence graft case

The orders were passed by a single judge bench of the high court presided over by Justice Suresh Kumar Kait on Thursday after he admitted the appeal filed by Jaitly through senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi seeking suspension of her conviction and the sentence awarded later.

New Delhi: A few hours after being sentenced to jail for four years in a corruption case relating to a defence deal, the Delhi High Court in a major relief to ex-Samata Party President Jaya Jaitly, suspended the sentence awarded to her.

The orders were passed by a single judge bench of the high court presided over by Justice Suresh Kumar Kait on Thursday after he admitted the appeal filed by Jaitly through senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi seeking suspension of her conviction and the sentence awarded later.

Jaitly’s legal team moved the high court soon after the sentence was pronounced.

Earlier in the day, a Delhi court sentenced Jaitly to four years in jail in a corruption case relating to a defence deal.

Two other convicts and Jaitly’s former party colleague Gopal Pacherwal and Major General (Retd.) S.P. Murgai were also awarded a similar jail term by the court.

While Jaitly approached the High Court on Thursday, the other convicts are likely to move the court on Friday.

Earlier in the day, CBI judge Virender Bhat directed the trio to surrender before the court before 5 p.m. on Thursday. They have also been fined Rs one lakh each.

The genesis of this case lies in a sting operation conducted by a news website Tehelka in 2000-2001 termed “Operation Westend” to expose the corruption in defence procurement deals in India. Tehelka had made the operation public in mid-March 2001.

On July 20, twenty years after a sting operation was done to expose alleged corruption in a defence deal, the court had convicted Jaya Jaitly, Major General S.P. Murgai and Gopal K. Pacherwal in the case.

On the basis of the sting, an FIR was registered against the four persons – Jaya, Major General S.P. Murgai, Gopal K. Pacherwal and Surender Kumar Surekha but the latter turned approver for the CBI. The CBI filed the charge sheet against Jaitly and others in 2006.

According to the Central Bureau of Investigation, Jaitly entered into a criminal conspiracy with Murgai, Surekha and Pacherwal in 2000-01 and obtained Rs two lakhs as gratification for herself or for any other person from Mathew Samuel, representative of fictitious firm M/s Westend International, London.

She did it to exercise influence upon public servants for getting supply orders for defence equipment i.e. Hand Held Thermal Cameras (HHTC) from the Ministry of Defence for the said fictitious firm.

It is alleged that a number of payments were made to Major General S.P. Murgai for his services in this regard and Rs one lakh was paid to Surekha for his assistance in the matter.

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