Days after he was fielded by the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) as a candidate for Dera Baba Nanak assembly seat for 2017 polls, senior party leader Sucha Singh Langah has moved the Punjab and Haryana high court, seeking stay on his conviction in a disproportionate assets (DA) case.
The Akali veteran was convicted in the Rs 13-crore DA case in February 2015 by a SAS Nagar court. Subsequently, his sentencing to a three-year jail term was suspended by a high court bench in March 2015, but the conviction was not stayed.
As per legal experts, Section 8 of the Representation of People’s Act, 1955 bars such persons from contesting elections, who have been convicted for any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for not less than two years. It is learnt that the petitioner contends that as he had been tasked by the SAD to contest 2017 assembly polls, hence his conviction be stayed. He has argued that none of the witnesses had supported the case of the prosecution; on the contrary, it was found that the entire investigation was vitiated and also various material prosecution witnesses had categorically stated before the trial court that their statements were never recorded by any of the investigating officers, he is learnt to have argued.
Further, there was no evidence proving that the appellant had bought any benami property in the name of other accused in conspiracy with them or had accepted illegal gratification, he is learnt to have contended, stating that he was booked with “mala fide intentions” in the case. The application is likely to be taken up later this week.
Langah was the public works minister in the Parkash Singh Badal-led SAD-BJP government (1997-2002). The state vigilance bureau had registered an FIR against 11 people, including Langah, under the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act in the DA case in May 2002.
In February 2015, an SAS Nagar court had sentenced him to three-year jail and imposed a fine of `1 crore.