Andhra Pradesh secondary education minister K Parthasarathy was on Wednesday sentenced to two months' simple imprisonment by a court in Hyderabad in a 13-year-old case of Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) violation.
The special court for Economic Offences also imposed a fine of Rs. five lakh on a city-based firm KPR Tele Products Ltd, of which Parthasarathy was managing director, and also directed him to pay a fine of Rs. 20,000 after finding him guilty of non-payment of penalty imposed by Enforcement Directorate (ED) and for violation of FERA provisions.
The court, however, kept the sentence under suspension for a period of 30 days after the minister's counsel moved a petition seeking time to challenge the order in a higher court.
Parthasarathy, who was present in the court when the order was pronounced, was granted bail on execution of personal bond of Rs. 10,000 and a security of the same amount.
The ED had registered a case against Parthasarathy in 1999 for alleged violation of FERA over import of some equipment from abroad by the firm.
ED had imposed a penalty of Rs. three lakh on him in 2001, but the amount had not been paid.
Making it clear that he will challenge the verdict in a higher court, Parthasarathy said the case has nothing to do with his public life as he was neither an MLA or a minister when it was filed.
"I respect the court order. However, I will fight it out because the court has given me a chance to appeal.... I will move the higher court," the Congress minister said.
Asserting that he will also legally fight the penalty order, he said, "I was doing some business at that time and there was default, following which the case came up before the court. Today's order has nothing to do with my public life".
The court had on last Monday issued a NBW (non-bailable warrant)against the minister, which was subsequently recalled on Tuesday after he filed a petition informing that it was due to prior commitment that he was enable to attend the court hearing and had assured of attending the court proceedings on Wednesday.
Earlier, alleging that the minister did not cooperate with it during the probe and also failed to respond to the notices issued against him over the pending penalty, the ED had filed a complaint before the court.