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Monday, September 27, 2021

HC stays ex-MLA’s conviction over graft charges against judge

In 2007, Rai was elected to the Assembly from Budhlada seat as a Congress candidate. However, in 2012, he lost the election from Mor constituency. It is further submitted that due to his conviction, his party did not gave him ticket in the year 2017.

Written by Jagpreet Singh Sandhu | Chandigarh |
September 7, 2021 8:10:26 am
The bench of Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan after hearing the matter said, “.it is clear that the Additional Sessions Judge/Special Judge, CBI, Patiala on a complaint given by the applicant/appellant faced the departmental inquiry and as per the report, he was found guilty of the charge.”(Representational)

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has stayed the 2013 conviction of former Punjab MLA Mangat Rai by the then Patiala CBI court judge, Hemant Gopal. Gopal, who is under suspension, has been found guilty in departmental inquiry for allegedly demanding illegal gratification while passing judgment against Rai and others in 2013.

Rai, an accused in the FCI rice embezzlement scam, had been convicted by Hemant Gopal, ADJ, the then Special Judge, CBI, Patiala, along with 22 other accused, while two accused, namely Bachni Devi and Parvinder Singh were acquitted in the matter in 2013 by then CBI ADJ Gopal.

Rai who moved HC, contended that Gopal, as CBI special court judge, had allegedly accepted illegal gratification of Rs 40 lakh from co-accused Parvinder and had demanded Rs 1 crore from him and others. Rai was convicted and sentenced to a seven-year imprisonment in the paddy scam in which the CBI had registered a case on the directions of the HC.

Rai’s counsel, Senior Advocate S K Garg Narwana with Advocate Vishal Garg Narwana, had moved to High Court seeking stay on his conviction, contending that Gopal was found guilty of grave misconduct by the inquiry officer-cum-district & sessions judge at Panchkula, vide inquiry report dated March 31, 2018.
It was argued that Parvinder was acquitted because he had allegedly paid the illegal gratification of Rs 40 lakh, whereas Rai and other accused were convicted as they did not pay any amount to him, argued the counsels representing the former MLA.

In 2007, Rai was elected to the Assembly from Budhlada seat as a Congress candidate. However, in 2012, he lost the election from Mor constituency. It is further submitted that due to his conviction, his party did not gave him ticket in the year 2017.

The petitioner’s counsel further submitted that in case the judgment of conviction and order of sentence is not stayed, it will adversely affect his political career as in 2017 he was denied the party ticket and he wants to contest 2022 Assembly elections.

The bench of Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan after hearing the matter said, “.it is clear that the Additional Sessions Judge/Special Judge, CBI, Patiala on a complaint given by the applicant/appellant faced the departmental inquiry and as per the report, he was found guilty of the charge.”

“Though no final order has been passed by the Hon’ble High Court qua Hemant Gopal, Additional District and Sessions Judge, who is continuing under suspension for the last about 4 years yet prima facie, his indictment as per the inquiry report is apparent on record, therefore, this application is allowed, the impugned judgment of conviction and order of sentence shall remain stayed during the pendency of the appeal and will have no adverse effect on the civil rights of the applicant/appellant, who intends to contest the forthcoming elections of Punjab State Legislative Assembly in February, 2022,” held Justice Sangwan in the order.

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