Former AIADMK Minister Indira Kumari, husband get 5-year rigorous imprisonment
A minister in Jayalalithaa’s 1991-96 cabinet, Indira Kumari joined the DMK in 2006.
Former Social Welfare Minister R. Indira Kumari and her husband A. Babu have been convicted and sentenced by a special court to five-year rigorous imprisonment for siphoning off ₹15.45 lakh from a government department and parking the sum in two trusts run by him under the pretext of running schools for children with disabilities.
P. Shanmugam, former Director of Rehabilitation of the Disabled, has been sentenced to three-year rigorous imprisonment.
The court also imposed a fine of ₹10,000 on each of them.
R. Venkatakrishnan, a personal assistant to Indira Kumari, was acquitted.
Indira Kumari held the portfolio of Social Welfare in the AIADMK government headed by Jayalalithaa between 1991 and 1996. She joined the DMK in 2006, and has been the State secretary of the party’s literary wing.
The case was booked by the Crime Branch-CID 15 years ago on a complaint from the then Social Welfare Secretary. The CB-CID filed a charge sheet on February 4, 2004, against Indira Kumari and four others — former Social Welfare Secretary R. Kirubakaran, Shanmugam, Babu and Venkatakrishnan.
The charge sheet said the accused hatched a criminal conspiracy during 1992-1996 and committed a criminal breach of trust under the pretext of establishing and running schools for children with disabilities in Vellore and Chennai. They committed a criminal misconduct as public servants and obtained pecuniary advantage, by illegal means and abusing official position, to the two trusts — Mercy Mother India Charitable Trust and Bharani Swathi Educational Trust — in which Babu was the managing trustee. They were all charged with offences under Sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code and under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The charge against Kirubakaran had abated since he died during the trial.
In 2019, the case was transferred to the Additional Special Court for Trial of Cases related to MPs and MLAs. More than 60 witnesses, including the Chief Secretary, deposed and over 100 pieces of documentary evidence were produced by the prosecution.
Special court judge N. Alicia held Indira Kumari, Babu and Shanmugam guilty of the offences they had been charged with. Venkatakrishnan was acquitted because the prosecution failed to establish the offences beyond reasonable doubt.
Indira Kumari was visibly upset at the verdict. While the warrant procedure was under way, she was sitting on a chair near the court hall. She was removing her jewels as she was about to be taken to prison. Suddenly, she complained of breathing difficulty and swooned. She was taken in an ambulance to a private hospital before being shifted to the Government Stanley Medical College Hospital.