Guj MLA’s Prison Sentence Leads to Disqualification From Assembly
Gir-Somnath district court sentenced Bhagvan Barad to 2.9 years in prison for a 24-year-old illegal mining case.
There seems to be no end to the woes of Gujarat Congress, especially at the cusp of campaigning for the all-important 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Congress MLA Bhagvan Barad from Talala constituency in Gir-Somnath district, has been disqualified as an MLA following his conviction in an illegal mining case.
This is the third MLA Congress lost in a span of 12 months.
The exodus started with Kunvarji Bavaliya who joined BJP in July, last year, and then won the Jasdan bypolls. Next to leave the nest was Congress MLA Asha Patel from Unjha Constituency in Mehsana district, who resigned from the party and the Assembly and joined the BJP in February this year.
The decision was shared with the media by the speaker of Gujarat Assembly, Rajendra Trivedi on Tuesday, 5 March.
Disqualification as per SC Guidelines
On 1 March, a court in Gir-Somnath district sentenced 60-year-old Barad to 2.9 years in prison for a 24-year-old illegal mining case.
“Barad has been disqualified as MLA. The chief electoral officer and the election commissioner have been informed about it. He is no longer an MLA," Trivedi told reporters in Gandhinagar. Meanwhile, the Congress has planned a statewide protest against Barad’s disqualification from the Assembly.
The state legal department earlier sent a certified copy of the court order to the Gujarat Assembly so that action could be taken against him, he said.
Barad was disqualified as per notifications of the Election Commission and the Supreme Court order pertaining to conviction of a lawmaker in a case, the Speaker said.
Last year, the apex court said a lawmaker, whose conviction in a criminal case has not been stayed by an appellate court, would stand disqualified from the membership of the House.
On 1 March, Judicial Magistrate of Sutrapada taluka court SL Mehta pronounced the MLA guilty under Section 379 of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with punishment for theft, along with a fine of Rs 2,500, said public prosecutor DJ Trivedi.
"Barad was accused of stealing limestone worth Rs 2.83 crore through illegal mining on a government land in Sutrapada. The FIR (in the case) was registered against Barad in 1995," Trivedi told PTI. According to the FIR, Barad sold the mineral to a local chemical factory.
The FIR was lodged by the Sutrapada police following a complaint by a mining inspector, said Trivedi. Barad has challenged his conviction in the Gujarat High Court.
“The BJP wants to toe the Supreme Court guidelines, then why is Fisheries Minister Parshottam Solanki still an MLA? He too should be disqualified. We know the BJP (is) scheming to drop our numbers in the Assembly. We will not take this lying down. We have planned statewide protests in all districts of Gujarat against Barad’s disqualification.”Manish Doshi, Gujarat Congess Spokesperson
On Wednesday, 6 March, representatives from the Ahmedabad District Congress will submit a memorandum to the Collector to register their protest, Doshi concluded.
(With Inputs from PTI)
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