A co-accused Ravichandar Alimuthu of stamp paper counterfeiter Abdul Karim Telgi in a petrol and diesel adulteration case has pleaded guilty before a special court.
It may be noted that Telgi, who died in 2017, was one of the key accused in the case and had pleaded guilty in December 2012. He was then convicted by the court to seven years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of around Rs. 80,000.
The adulteration case had come to light during investigations into the massive stamp paper scam. The case concerns import of 500 tonnes of naphtha. Fuel that was adulterated with the flammable liquid was supplied to petrol pumps across the state.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has charged Alimuthu in its chargesheet filed in 2007 with forging several documents and permissions necessary for the crime, including signatures of a magistrate, a collector and rationing authorities.
Alimuthu placed the plea before the court in person and said he wished to plead guilty to the offence. He added that he is a poor person and requested that his plea be accepted. The CBI had opposed his plea and stated that he cannot plead guilty when the trial against him is ongoing, when he did not plead guilty at the earlier stage before beginning trial. Alimuthu had pleaded that he was not guilty earlier and the court had framed charges against him in 2015, after which the trial had begun. Special CBI Judge SU Wadgaonkar permitted the plea of Alimuthu relying on an apex court judgment where the top court had held that if such a plea is allowed at any stage of the trial, an early termination of trial can be secured and waste of precious time of the court can be avoided.