Congress RS MP Rasheed Masood sentenced to four years in jail
New Delhi: Rajya Sabha member Rasheed Masood, convicted for fraudulently nominating undeserving candidates to MBBS seats in 1990-91, was on Tuesday sentenced to four years in jail.
Masood was taken into custody after the court verdict. A Congress Working Committee member, Masood is all set to be disqualified under the provisions of RP Act since he has been convicted and sentenced under sections of various laws including the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
Earlier, during the hearing Rasheed Masood had sought the benefit of probation, citing his long service to the nation and health reasons even as CBI demanded nothing less than seven years jail term for him and a hefty fine.
"I have been an MP for the last 30 years and I am a law abiding citizen. Considering the nature of the case, my age and clean antecedents, I should be given the benefit of probation," counsel for 67-year-old Masood told special CBI judge JPS Malik while arguing on the quantum of sentence.
CBI prosecutor VN Ojha, however, opposed his plea for probation, saying, "Rasheed Masood does not deserve anything less than seven years (in jail) and a hefty fine should be imposed because by nominating undeserving candidates including his own nephew, he had spoiled the career of meritorious students".
Masood, minister of health in the VP Singh government between 1990 and 1991, was held guilty of fraudulently nominating undeserving candidates to MBBS seats allotted to Tripura in medical colleges across the country from the central pool.
The prosecutor also said Masood is a person who is a "lawmaker turned into a lawbreaker" even after taking oath to abide by the Constitution which says all are equal before the law.
"He and the other two public servants convicted in the case should be given maximum punishment as the students who suffered nearly two decades ago cannot be compensated for," the prosecutor said.
The two other public servants convicted in the case are Gurdial Singh, a former IPS officer, and retired IAS official Amal Kumar Roy, the then secretary of Tripura chief minister Sudhir Ranjan Majumdar.
Masood was held guilty of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and IPC Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating) and 468 (forgery). He, however, was acquitted of the charge under Section 471 IPC (using as genuine a forged document).
Masood's conviction is the first case after the July 10 Supreme Court judgement that struck down sub-section 4 of Section 8 of Representation of People Act, under which incumbent MPs and MLAs could avoid disqualification till pendency of the appeal against conviction in a higher court.
Following a dreadful washout in the four-State Assembly polls, a humbled Congress accepted its defeat and called for a much needed introspection to rethink their strategy ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Date 16 hrs ago, Duration 2:49, Views 106