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Gupta jailed

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

NT_01The Supreme Court on Tuesday convicted Minister for Information and Communications Jaya Prakash Prasad Gupta on corruption charge and slapped one and half year jail term and Rs 8.4 million fine on him.

A division bench of Justices Sushila Karki and Tarka Raj Bhatta passed the verdict, overturning a verdict of the Special Court that had given him a clean chit on corruption charge filed by the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) in 2006.

“This bench has reached the conclusion that the defendant’s source of income and the property he earned during the given period doesn’t match,” Justice Sushila Karki told reporters reading from the verdict. “He failed to verify the source of income for 8.4 million rupees. Therefore, it has been proved that Gupta has committed a crime as per the Corruption Prevention Act.”

Gupta is the first sitting minister to be jailed in the history. The SC jailed Chiranjibi Wagle, a former government minister for corruption last year, which was a landmark verdict in bringing high profile officials to justice for their indulgence in corruption.

The CIAA had filed a case against Gupta accusing him of earning Rs 20 million from unknown sources between 1992 and 2002 when he held public offices.

Gupta surrendered before the bench immediately after the verdict was announced. He has been sent to Dillibajar jail.

“The verdict has come as a punishment to the Madhes movement,” Gupta told reporters. He also vowed to continue the fight for the cause of Madhes.

The SC verdict automatically terminates his ministership, as well as CA membership. He will not be able to contest in any election or hold public position even after his release in future as a constitutional provision has it that a person who has been punished on any criminal charge is ineligible to become a parliament member.

Gupta started his political career with Nepali Congress and was the press adviser to the then Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala in 1991. He was elected as the Member of Parliament from Saptari in 1994 and 1999 from Nepali Congress. He was also a member of the interim parliament in 2007 from MJF. He was elected as a CA member from MJF in 2008. He defected from the party along with 13 CA members on May last year and formed a new party MJF (Republic) and became the party president.

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