DMK Rajya Sabha member TM Selvaganapathy resigned from parliament Friday after being convicted in a cheating case and being sentenced to undergo two years rigorous imprisonment.
Speaking to reporters at Dharmapuri, around 310 km from here, Selvaganapathy said as a person who respects the law, he has put in his papers as a member of Rajya Sabha following his conviction and sentencing by a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court Thursday. It is a testing time for him in politics, he added. Along with him, the CBI court here sentenced four others including two retired IAS officers for two years rigorous imprisonment and a fined them Rs.25,000 each.
The case related to the time when Selvaganapathy was minister for rural development and local administration in the AIADMK government (1991-1996). According to the CBI, Selvaganapathy, IAS officers J.T. Acharyulu and M. Sathyamurthy and three others - M. Krishnamurthy, A. Arokiaraj and T. Bharathi - conspired to cheat the central and the state governments between 1995-1996, causing a wrongful loss of Rs.2.3 million to the exchequer.
The charge was that Selvaganapathy and others ordered construction/erection of cremation sheds, through cooperative societies under Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (JRY), despite this not being an identified item of work under the scheme. Further, under the JRY scheme, no advance payments should be made - a rule which they flouted.
However, the convicts entrusted the work to Karungulam Cooperative Society for construction of cremation sheds in Nagapattinam district and payments were made through demand drafts. The sub-standard work was executed through sub-contractors and not in conformity with the specifications to encash the demand drafts.
During the trial, Arokiaraj died and the charge against him was abated.