In a major setback for former Congress MLA Bhaga Barad, the Gujarat High Court on Friday quashed the stay on his conviction and sentence by a sessions court in Gir Somnath in a case of illegal mining.
Justice Sonia Gokani allowed the state government’s plea to set aside order of a sessions court in Gir Somnath, which had stayed Barad’s conviction and jail term of two years and nine months awarded by a magistrate’s court of Sutrapada.
In her order, Justice Gokani asked the sessions court to hear Barad’s plea afresh “without further loss of time”.
She noted the sessions court “should once again apply its mind” while hearing Barad’s petition challenging the magistrate’s order. Citing judgements by the Supreme Court, she noted that lower courts should stay convictions in only rare cases.
Barad, who was MLA from Talala constituency, was convicted in a 24-year-old case of illegal mining on March 1, and sentenced to two years and nine months imprisonment. His conviction was stayed by the sessions court on March 8, even as he was disqualified as MLA by assembly speaker Rajendra Trivedi on March 5.
Barad had moved the high court on March 11 challenging his disqualification alleging it was politically motivated. He also challenged the announcement of by-elections to Talala seat by the Election Commission. The plea is pending before a division bench of high court.
Barad was accused of stealing limestone worth Rs2.83 crore through illegal mining in government land in Sutrapada, according to an FIR lodged against him in 1995. He waspronounced guilty under Section 379 of Indian Penal Code, which deals with punishment for theft.
Barad was accused of stealing limestone worth Rs2.83 crore through illegal mining in government land in Sutrapada, according to an FIR lodged against him in 1995. He was pronounced guilty under Section 379 of the IPC, which deals with punishment for theft.
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