Chandraswamy acquitted in St Kitts forgery case

Chandraswamy acquitted in St Kitts forgery case
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+0553
New Delhi, Oct 2 (PTI) Self-styled godman Chandraswamy was today acquitted by a local court for want of "direct evidence" in the St Kitts case from the charge of conspiring to harm V P Singh's image by forging documents to show that he was the beneficiary of a USD 21 million secret bank account in the Caribbean island.

Chandraswamy was the lone accused left in the case after former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao and the then Minister of State for External Affairs K K Tewary were discharged, while the godman's aide K N Aggarwal alias Mamaji died during trial.

The Delhi High Court had quashed proceedings against accused K L Verma, former Director of Enforcement Directorate, (ED) saying CBI had not got the sanction to prosecute him.

"There is no direct evidence of the involvement of Chandraswamy in the conspiracy," Special Judge Dinesh Dayal said noting that CBI had relied on circumstantial evidence but failed to complete the chain of conspiracy linking the godman.

CBI had said the then ED Deputy Director A P Nandy gave a report regarding St Kitts bank account of former Prime Minister V P Singh's son Ajeya Singh after visiting the island and USA. But Nandy died before he could be examined.

"In the absence Nandy's evidence, it cannot be said that Chandraswamy provided any assistance to him to go to S Kitts from Miami in US or even that the accused had met Nanday in Miami," the court said terming Verma's statement in this regard as "mere hearsay".

After the verdict, Chandraswamy said "I am happy that the way V P Singh government tried to drag in Rajiv Gandhi's name did not work. I am more happy for Rajiv Gandhi. The truth has triumphed.

During the trial, Chandraswamy had claimed that he was falsely implicated in the case by the V P Singh Government due to his proximity to Rajiv Gandhi and P V Narasimha Rao. CBI had alleged that some political bigwigs had made an attempt in 1989 to sully V P Singh's image by forging certain documents to show that his son Ajeya Singh had a secret bank account of USD 21 million with the First Trust Corporation Bank in St Kitts islands.

V P Singh, then a Janata Dal leader, had emerged as the main political rival of Rajiv Gandhi, against whom he was campaigning across the country on the Bofors issue after quitting his Government.

The whole controversy started in August 1989 with the Kuwait-based 'Arab Times' carrying a report about the alleged bank account in the name of Ajeya Singh.

After the change of guard at the Centre following Congress' debacle in 1989 Lok Sabha polls, V P Singh became Prime Minister and CBI registered a case in May 1990. The CBI probe found that the allegations of the "non-existent" bank account were floated by some "interested persons" to tarnish the image of V P Singh.

However, the case proceeded at snail's pace after Singh's Government fell in November 1990 following withdrawal of support to it by BJP after the arrest of L K Advani during the Ayodhya Rath Yatra. P V Narasimha Rao then became the Prime Minister and remained in office till May 1996.

Finally after Rao's exit, CBI chargesheeted Chandraswamy, 'Mamaji', Rao, Tewary and Verma in September 1996.

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