Friday, April 8, 2011

Andhra babus get 15-day jail for contempt

HYDERABAD: A two-member bench of the Andhra HC on Friday sentenced senior IAS officers Pushpa Subramanyam and Premchand of the Municipal Administration and Urban Development department to 15 days in prison. The sentence was, however, suspended for a month, allowing them to appeal in the Supreme Court.

The sentence comes in a contempt case relating to the approach of the officers to a direction by the court to lease out by auction the rights to manage a film theatre in Nalgonda. All the contemnors were also sentenced a fine of Rs 2,000 each.

The bench comprising Justices G Raghuram and Ramesh Ranganathan minced no words and pointed out that even the apology given by the contemnors was vacuous and ritualistic. The contempt case follows a direction given by the bench requiring the government to auction the leasehold rights of Prem Talkies in Nalgonda.

The bench, while dealing with a writ petition filed by one M Krishna Reddy, a local councillor who alleged that the theatre was leased out to the then municipal chairperson as an act of favouritism, accepted his contention. The court accordingly set aside the then existing lease and had directed the government to auction the same after a proper notification. The government on the one hand issued the auction notice and then proceeded to stay the auction notice. By its judgment in August 2009, the bench directed the auction.

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