A Gandhinagar court on Saturday sentenced former BJP MP from Surendranagar, Devji Fatepara, to two years in jail and Rs 2.97 crore fine in a cheque bouncing case of 2016.
The order, however, will not be executed till 30 days as the former MP got a stay and plans to appeal to a higher court.
The Kalol court found Fatepara guilty under provision of Criminal Procedure Code for offence punishable under the Negotiable Instrument Act. The court also directed that of the fine amount of Rs 2,97,10,000, Rs 2,97,00,000 shall be paid to the complainant, Prabhatsinh Thakor. Non-payment of the fine shall attract three months of further imprisonment, the court directed.
The case dates back to that of 2016 when Thakor and Fatepara had struck a land deal, with the latter being the seller. Advocate Bhanukumar Patel, who was representing Thakor, said, “Thakor wanted to buy land and Devji was the seller. However, the deal fell through later and it was orally decided that Fatepara will return the amount of Rs 1,48,50,000 which was paid by Thakor. Fatepara had given a cheque for the same amount which bounced.”
Advocate L M Zala, representing the former MP, said, “We got a stay of 30 days on the operation of the order, in which time we will appeal to the Kalol sessions court. Pursuant to this stay, he (Fatepara) does not have to pay the fine nor be taken into judicial custody for the next 30 days.”
The final arguments in the case were completed in January this year and were reserved for the final verdict since February. Notably, the verdict comes on the back of a direction from the Gujarat High Court of September 30, where the registrar general had written to all principal district judges of all district courts across Gujarat to decide on criminal cases against sitting and former legislators, namely MPs and MLAs, as early as possible.
The HC had listed 92 such pending cases across various courts in Gujarat against sitting and former MPs and MLAs, among which was also this case of Fatepara.
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