Ex IAS officer dies, a day after being sentenced to jail (Lead)

March 25th, 2009 - 10:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, March 25 (IANS) S.C. Chhabra, a 96-year-old former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer died Wednesday afternoon, a day after he was convicted and awarded a one-and-a-half year jail term by a court here in a cheque bouncing case.
“I have just got the news that Chhabra has expired in a hospital in Delhi. He was admitted there for a long time and was undergoing treatment for many ailments. Due to his illness he could not even come to the court in Chandigarh Tuesday,” Matwinder Singh, Chhabra’s lawyer told IANS here Wednesday.

Chabbra and four others including former lieutenant governor of Mizoram S.K. Chibber, 90, were sentenced to one-and-a-half years in jail and fined Rs.5,000 each Tuesday because cheques issued by their firm in 1998 had bounced.

The case had been filed by Gontermann Peipers, a textile company based in Nalagarh, Himachal Pradesh.

Chibber, who was Mizoram lieutenant governor from June 1974 to September 1977, and Chhabra were directors of Vivani Denim and Apparels when the case was filed.

Three other officials of the firm - managing director Subash Sahni, general manager V.K. Garg and Sarvan Sahni, a director - were also sentenced to the same jail term and fine.

Gontermann Peipers had filed a case against the five after six cheques worth Rs.8.6 million (Rs.86 lakh) issued by the officials on behalf of Vivani Denim bounced.

The textile company had delivered goods (cotton yarn) worth Rs.13.4 million (Rs.1.34 crore) to Vivani Denim in October 1997. Vivani Denim made a payment of Rs.4.7 million (Rs.47 lakh) in January 1998 and issued six cheques for the remaining amount. All six bounced.

Dissatisfied with the local court’s verdict, the complainant now plans to move the Punjab and Haryana High Court for better compensation in the case.

“We are not satisfied with the court’s decision, as it has not directed the accused to return the pending money to the complainant. Ten years back the pending money was Rs.86 lakh, now if we include the interest amount then it has gone into crores,” Chetan Mittal, the complainant’s lawyer, told IANS.

“Only imprisonment is not enough and to compensate the financial losses that my client had incurred we want a better compensation from the accused party. We would again move the court for this issue,” Mittal said.

“Vivani Denim and Apparels is known for its disgraced track record. In the past senior officials of this company have been convicted in similar cases of bounced cheques issued to leading textile firms of the country,” he added.

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