Ex-India Tourism official gets three-year jail term in bribery case, fined Rs 3 lakh

N Velmurugan, the first accused and then assistant director of India Tourism (Kochi), was acquitted.

Published: 28th January 2023 06:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th January 2023 06:42 AM   |  A+A-

Bribery, graft

Image used for representational purpose only. (Express Illustrations)

By Express News Service

KOCHI: A former official of India Tourism, under the Ministry of Tourism, was on Friday sentenced to three years of rigorous imprisonment and fined Rs 3 lakh for accepting bribe from hoteliers to issue reports for the three-star reclassification of hotels.

The CBI Special Court found K S Sabu, tourist information officer of India Tourism (Kochi), the second accused, guilty in the case. The court also awarded rigorous imprisonment of one year to N K Nigesh Kumar, the managing partner of Hotel Vintage residency, and James Joseph, the managing partner of Hotel Lyndas Residency, both in Kannur, and fined them Rs 50,000 each.

A fine of Rs 55,000 each was slapped on three private companies. They are Corniche Hospitality Pvt Ltd at Kottakkal in Malappuram, Pearl View Regency in Thalassery, Kannur, and K K Leisures and Tourism International Pvt Ltd in Kannur. N Velmurugan, the first accused and then assistant director of India Tourism (Kochi), was acquitted.

As per the prosecution, Velmurugan and Sabu had hatched a conspiracy in September 2011 to obtain pecuniary advantage through corrupt means in the issuance of three-star reclassifications to the hotels. After an inspection of the hotels by the Hotel and Restaurant Approval and Classification Committee, of which Velmurugan was a member, the MDs and representatives of the hotels were asked to come to the India Tourism office at Willingdon Island for document verification. There, the officials demanded and accepted bribes for expeditious processing of the files.

In a surprise check by the CBI at the office on October 1, 2011, unaccounted cash amounting to `4,72,500,several gift items and Indian-made foreign liquor bottles were recovered from Sabu.


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