A Delhi court has decided to put an IRS officer on trial along with his chartered accountant wife for allegedly owning assets exceeding his legal income, rejecting the woman’s plea that the CBI has clubbed her income with that of her husband to arrive at the ‘disproportionate assets’ figure.
Special CBI Judge Vinod Kumar passed order on framing of charges against the couple, saying the woman will have enough of opportunity to explain her stand on her husband’s assets during the trial.
While passing the order on charges against IRS officer Milind Purshottam Damle for allegedly owing disproportionate assets worth Rs 54.67 lakh, the court charged his wife Murdul M Damle for aiding and abetting him in amassing the wealth.
“There is enough material on record to frame a charge against accused Milind Purshottam Damle under Section 13(1)(e) read with Section 13(2) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988,” the court said.
The defence counsel, appearing for Damle and his wife, said they had tried to explain to the investigating officer about excess money recovered from their house but their version was not investigated by the CBI. He said Murdul is a practicing chartered accountant for past 20 years and is having her own income.
The judge, however, said, “I have considered their submissions and I am of the opinion that this trial offers them an opportunity to give proper explanation and prove their defence.”
The judge adjourned the matter for next hearing on January 3, when the court would formally press charges against the accused and ask them whether they plead guilty to them.
The court said there was a prima facie case against Damle’s wife Murdul of intentionally aiding and abetting the crime.
The court observed that flats/properties were purchased by Damle through his wife and she had ‘intentionally’ aided him by keeping the money in joint accounts and acquiring the assets in her name. A case was registered against Damle and his wife in 2005.
“I have considered the rival submissions and I have also carefully perused the charge sheet. The check period for counting the assets is from April 1, 2000 to February 2, 2005.
“At the beginning of the check period, Milind Purshottam Damle and his family members were found to be in possession of assets worth Rs 12.75 lakh as on April 1, 2000. At the end of check period, he was found having assets to the tune of Rs 98.88 lakh as on February 2, 2005,” the judge said.
Damle’s total income was shown as Rs 40,49,391 and after deducting expenditure, he was found having disproportionate assets to the extent of Rs 54,67,633, the court noted.