Court to frame charges on case filed 31 yrs ago

Court to frame charges on case filed 31 yrs ago

A Delhi court will frame charges against an oil ministry official and another person after 31 years of “tardy” judicial proceedings in a case involving leakage of classified documents from the union petroleum and chemicals ministry.

Over three decades ago, the accused and five others were booked by the Central Bureau of Investigation. Four of the seven accused have died while one has pleaded guilty.

Additional Sessions Judge Kaveri Baweja decided to frame charges against K L Arora, former personal assistant to a director the union petroleum and chemicals ministry, for allegedly leaking secret information relating to setting up of ammonia plants in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

The court also found prima facie case against Nanak Sheth, former regional manager of the Industrial Consulting Bureau. “Considering the facts and circumstances, there is prima facie sufficient material for framing charges against the accused for the offence alleged against them under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC... And under the Official Secrets Act. They can also be booked under section 409 (criminal breach of trust) of the IPC,” the court said.

The case dates back to 1979, when the Centre had awarded contracts for setting up ammonia plants at Thal-Vaishet in Maharashtra and Hazira in Gujarat to US-based C F Braun and Company.

The decision was reversed and the contracts were awarded to other firms from Denmark and the UK in August 1980. Some classified documents from the ministry relating to the contracts were reported to have been leaked out.

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