A Delhi court has suspended the five-year jail term awarded to a former IAS officer in a 32-year-old case of recovery of arms and ammunition from his possession, taking note of his old age and medical ailments.
Special Judge Illa Rawat granted the relief to 81-year-old Surender Singh Ahluwalia, saying he had "made out a case for suspension of sentence and grant of bail to him till the disposal of the appeal" against the jail term before the higher court.
The CBI had filed a case on August 31, 1987 against Ahluwalia, then posted as Secretary and Commissioner, Labour and Employment, Nagaland, for the possession of arms and ammunition beyond permission limits.
Besides the jail term, the magisterial court had also imposes a fine of Rs 1.50 lakh on the accused.
The court passed the order on an application by the convict seeking suspension of the jail term till the time his appeal is decided by the court.
The court noted that the convict was not arrested after registration of the FIR and the CBI had filed charge sheet without his arrest and that he remained to be out on bail during the trial.
"At present, the appellant/convict is aged about 81 years. Though it is alleged that appellant delayed the trial by filing petitions before various courts and dragged the case for exorbitant period, admittedly at no point of time, the CBI sought to get the bail of convict cancelled, during the trial of the case, on this ground.
"In these facts and circumstances, even if the ground of medical ailment of appellant as well as his wife are not considered, the convict has made out a case for suspension of sentence and grant of bail to him till the disposal of the appeal," the court said.
It directed the convict to surrender his passport in the court and not to travel out of India without prior permission of the Court.
"This will allay the apprehension of CBI that convict may abscond after being released on bail," it said.
Five guns including a carbine and a Czechoslovakian rifle besides 328 bullets were allegedly recovered from his homes in Delhi and Kohima during a search carried out by the agency in connection with a case of disproportionate assets against him.
Ahluwalia joined the Army on May 3, 1964, as an Emergency Commission officer as a Captain. He joined the Indian Administrative Services in 1971 and was allocated Nagaland cadre.
Ahluwalia came under probe for allegedly amassing disproportionate assets which including air-conditioned cinema house and properties in posh areas of Delhi, Gwalior and Chandigarh.
The CBI had filed a separate case in connection with the recovery of weapons, the CBI said.