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Updated: December 16, 2011 00:15 IST

Chirac convicted of graft

Vaiju Naravane
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This November 24, 2011 file photo shows former French President Jacques Chirac attending a ceremony in Paris. A French court found Mr. Chirac guilty in a historic verdict on Thursday of embezzling public funds.
AP This November 24, 2011 file photo shows former French President Jacques Chirac attending a ceremony in Paris. A French court found Mr. Chirac guilty in a historic verdict on Thursday of embezzling public funds.

In a historic judgment, the former French President, Jacques Chirac (79), was on Thursday given a two-year suspended sentence for misappropriation of public funds and embezzlement.

This is the first time a French Head of State has been convicted since the trial in 1945 of Marshal Philippe Petain who collaborated with the Nazis.

Mr. Chirac who suffers from neurological problems and is in poor health was not present in the courtroom. He served two consecutive terms as President from 1995 to 2007.

Crimes

Mr. Chirac's crimes date back to the 1990s when, as Mayor of Paris, he placed several of his party men and women on the public payroll in what has been described as “phantom jobs”.

Non-government organisations and lawyers who had filed the cases against Mr. Chirac said they were satisfied with the verdict.

Jerome Karsenti, a lawyer for an anti-corruption association that sought a conviction, said the ruling was “historic and exemplary” He told reporters outside the courtroom: “We've seen a strong message delivered today: politicians can no longer do as they please when in charge of public administrations.”

Georges Kiejman, Mr. Chirac's lawyer, said he would consult his client about an appeal.

Mr. Chirac's case took years to come to court because as President he was immune to prosecution.

The prosecutor had asked that Mr. Chirac and nine other accused be let off but the court disagreed.

This judgment is likely to set a precedent in France and will encourage politicians to tread more cautiously.

A former Culture Minister is in detention in a high-profile corruption case linked to the payment of reverse kickbacks over a deal to supply Agosta submarines to Pakistan.

Mr. Chirac's adopted daughter, Anh Dao Traxel, a former refugee from Cambodia, said in a tearful statement:

“The justice system has been very severe, but this is a fair and independent justice system. For the family, it's a great pain we have to accept.”

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Oh! how one wishes that such bold and fearless prosecutions are initiated in India too and all guilty persons who got away without so much as even a spot of blemish attaching to them are brought to book and made to pay for their crimes.But then,if our wishes were horses we would all be riding.Should we be ashamed to call ourselves a democracy and are we meek enough to put up with all the things that we have been experiencing and accept that there are a few citizens who are more equal than the rest of the population?

from:  Raj Kumar
Posted on: Dec 16, 2011 at 08:44 IST

This news item confirms my views that even the posts of President and Governors should also be under the Lokpal jurisdiction. India is a pluto-kleptocracy which needs a very strong safeguard against the abuse of power and position. Our own present President Madam is no exception to allegations which the media were agog with her involvement in various scandals. Therefore a very strong Lokpal with strong teeth inclusive of the entire machinary without exception is a call of the day. God bless Annaji.

from:  Dr. O. P. Sudrania
Posted on: Dec 16, 2011 at 02:06 IST
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