Selvaganapathy was local administration minister in the Jayalalithaa cabinet in 1995 when the cremation shed scam came to light, following a report from IAS officer Umashankar. He later joined the DMK, and is at present member of the Rajya Sabha. Now that he has been convicted, he stands to lose the post immediately after the order is conveyed to the speaker.
The case pertains to corruption and misappropriation of funds allocated under the Jawahar Rojgar Yojana and the plan to build 100 cremation sheds in Nagapattinam district in 1995. Besides Selvaganapathy, another AIADMK minister, SD Somasundaram, and some officers were cited as accused in the case.
IX additional sessions judge S Malathi who is also the special judge for CBI cases, convicted Selvaganapathy and ordered him to remain in jail for two years along with a fine of Rs 25,000. Apart from Selvaganapathy, two IAS officers — JT Acharyulu, the then special commissioner rural development and M Sathiamoorthy, director of rural development — were cited as accused. Of the three other officers cited as accused, one died during trial.
The special judge said, "Prosecution adduced reliable and satisfactory evidence beyond reasonable doubt," and imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 each. The CBI had invoked provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
According to CBI, in 1995-96 under the Jawahar Rojgar Yojana scheme, a high level meeting was held by Selvaganapathy in which it was decided to construct 100 cremation sheds for Adi Dravidars in Nagapattinam. While the Centre would contribute 80%, the state would contribute 20% as its share.
The contract was awarded to Karungulam Carpentary and Blacksmith Worker Industrial Society in Nagapattinam and Rs 30 lakh was distributed. Later, inspection revealed that the sheds were of substandard quality and had no utility value.
The CBI alleged that the five accused had caused Rs 24 lakh loss to the government.