2 M'rashtra ex-ministers, 46 others convicted in housing scam
A Dhule Special Court has sentenced 48 persons, including two former Maharashtra ministers, to varying jail terms between seven to three years and slapped fines on them in the multi-crore rupees Jalgaon Gharkul housing scam, here on Saturday.
Shiv Sena leader and former minister Suresh Jain has been given seven years in jail and a whopping Rs 100 crore fine, while Nationalist Congress Party's former minister was given five years jail with Rs 500,000 fine.
Earlier this afternoon, Special Judge Srishty Neelkanth pronounced all the 48 accused in the case as "guilty" and ordered them to be taken in custody before announcing the verdict this evening.
Before delivering her much-awaited judgement, the Special Judge Neelkanth asked the lawyers of the accused whether they had anything to say.
The lawyers pleaded that their clients were not guilty, had nothing to do with the scam, many were ill or aged, and should be pardoned.
Demanding punishment for all accused, Special Public Prosecutor Pravin Chavan argued that they (the accused) had conspired and committed the crime in a cohesive manner, passed a resolution for promoting a housing scheme when there was no space available with the intention to profit from public money.
Besides Jain and Deokar, there were a total of 52 accused in the sensational case, including Pradeep Raisoni, Jagannath Vani, Raja Mayur. Three died during the pendency of the trial and one is still absconding, and all the 48 were present when Special Judge Neelkanth pronounced her verdict.
The case, which was originally being heard in Jalgaon, was transferred by the Supreme Court to Dhule to prevent influencing of witnesses and ensure impartiality.