Monday, May 28, 2007

Former Chief Minister Bhandari convicted by the lower court,

Special CBI Judge to pronounce sentence today

GANGTOK, May 27: Former Chief Minister and president of State Pradesh Congress Committee, Nar Bahadur Bhandari has been found guilty possessing assets disproportionate to his known source of income.

He was convicted in a disproportionate assets case by a designated CBI Court here on Saturday, May 26.

The Court of Special CBI Judge, SW Lepcha, held Mr. Bhandari guilty under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The quantum of punishment will be pronounced by the Court on Monday, May 28.

The case relates to the alleged construction of a five-storey building by Mr. Bhandari during his tenure in Gangtok at a cost of Rs 15.22 Lakhs which is unaccounted for. According to Special Prosecutor (CBI) ID, Vaidya, the case was registered against Bhandari in 1984 Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The charge sheet was admitted in 1994. The case was being heard by the designated CBI Court since September 1994. Mr. Bhandari was the Chief Minister of Sikkim from 1979 to 1994.

During the hearing on May 26, Mr. Bhandari failed to give satisfactory answer from his side, following which the Court found him guilty under Prevention of Corruption Act 1947, Article 5(2) read with article 51 (1) (e).

The minimum punishment provided for this offence is one year rigorous imprisonment with fine, which can be extended up to seven years.

The special lower court at Gangtok convicted the former Chief Minister Nar Bahadur Bhandari on May 26 on corruption case. The special judge S W Lepcha found Mr Bhandari guilty under section 5 (2) read with 5(1) (E) of Prevention of Corruption Act 1947. The sentence for punishment will be pronounced on Monday. The CBI had filed the case against Former Chief Minister Bhandari which was registered on May 26, 1984 with the allegation that he while holding the office as chief minister from October 1979 to May 1984 abused his position as a public servant and acquired assets disproportionate to the known sources of his income in his own name and in the names of his dependents. After several hearings of the case, taking the cognizance of prima face evidence, the Court had chart sheeted Bhandari in 1994 accusing him of acquiring assets to the name of Rs 15.2 lakhs. The assets attached to the case were five story building, Primula cottage of valued Rs.15,05155.00 and other items. The court reserved the judgment and verdict was given on May 26.

It may be mentioned that Bhandari was acquitted in other cases by the court at Namchi a few months ago. The date for awarding punishment is slated for May 28. Shri I.D. Vaid, advocate Special prosecutor, CBI informed about court's verdict to the media person.