MP Rasheed Masood jailed, faces disqualification

New Delhi


Rajya Sabha member Rasheed Masood of the Congress was Tuesday sentenced to four years in jail for fraudulently nominating undeserving candidates from across the country to MBBS seats in 1990-91, making him the first to stand disqualified as a lawmaker.

Special CBI Court Judge J.P.S. Malik held Masood guilty on charges of corruption and other offences.

Masood, 67, was convicted of fraudulently nominating undeserving candidates from across the country to the MBBS seats allotted to Tripura medical colleges from the central pool.

Two other public servants convicted in the case - former IPS officer Gurdial Singh, and retired IAS officer Amal Kumar Roy, who was then secretary to Tripura chief minister Sudhir Ranjan Majumdar - were also awarded four years' imprisonment.

Court also slapped fine of Rs.60,000 on Masood and Rs.1 lakh each on both the government officials.

Nine students, who were fraudulently given admission in the medical colleges and were convicted for cheating, were also given a year's imprisonment each by the court. The students moved their bail pleas before the court.

Masood was the minister of health in the 11-month V.P. Singh government between 1990 and 1991.

Masood, who was immediately taken into custody after the sentencing, will lose the right to contest polls for the next 10 years since a convicted leader cannot fight elections for six years from the date of release from their prison.

He faces immediate disqualification as the Rajya Sabha member under a recent Supreme Court ruling that a member of parliament and state legislature stands disqualified immediately if convicted by a court for crimes with punishment of two years or more and under some other laws even without jail sentence.

The July 10 judgment of the Supreme Court struck down a provision in the electoral law that provided protection to sitting MPs and legislators by allowing them to continue in their posts if they appeal against a lower court conviction and secure a stay of the order within 90 days.

Masood was found guilty of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and under Indian Penal Code Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating) and 468 (forgery). However, he has been acquitted of the charge of using as genuine a forged document.

During arguments on quantum of sentence, the Central Bureau of Investigation that probed the case sought seven years' jail term for Masood, saying the "law-maker has become the law-breaker". - IANS