In the first conviction after the Supreme Court struck down a law that provided immunity to MPs and MLAs from immediate disqualification, a Special CBI court on Thursday held Congress member in the Rajya Sabha Rasheed Masood guilty in a case of corruption and other offences and he is set to lose his seat.
Mr. Masood, who was Minister for Health in the V.P. Singh government between 1990 and 1991, was held guilty of fraudulently nominating undeserving candidates to MBBS seats allotted to Tripura in medical colleges across the country from the Central pool.
Special CBI Judge J. P. S. Malik held Mr. Masood guilty of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and IPC Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating) and 468 (forgery). He has, however, been acquitted of the charge under Section 471 IPC (using as genuine a forged document).
Mr. Masood’s conviction is the first case after the July 10 Supreme Court judgment that struck down Sub-section 4 of Section 8 of Representation of the People Act under which incumbent MPs and MLAs can avoid disqualification till pendency of the appeal against conviction in a higher court.
The appeal has to be made within three months of the conviction.
The quantum of punishment on Mr. Masood, a Congress Working Committee member, will be pronounced on October 1. The provisions under which he has been convicted attract imprisonment up to seven years. He has been held guilty on same counts in two other similar cases.
The three cases in which the Congress leader has been convicted form part of the 11 similar cases registered by CBI in 1996.
Besides Mr. Masood, the court has also convicted on similar counts former top bureaucrats Gurdial Singh and retired IAS official Amal Kumar Roy, the then secretary to Tripura Chief Minister Sudhir Ranjan Majumdar, in six and five similar cases respectively.
Nine students who had fraudulently got admission in the medical colleges have also been convicted for cheating. Two of them, including Mr. Masood’s nephew, were juvenile at the time of the offence and their case had been transferred to the Juvenile Justice Board on January 25, 2007.
Mr. Majumdar and then health Minister Kashi Ram Reang were also accused in the case. They passed away pending trial. - PTI