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Gujarat Cong MLA faces disqualification after conviction in illegal mining case

Congress legislator Bhagwan Barad was disqualified as a law-maker on Tuesday after a local court convicted and sentenced him to nearly three years in jail for an 18-year-old illegal mining case.

india Updated: Mar 06, 2019 00:04 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad
Congress,Bhagwan Barad,India news
Supporters carry cutouts of the Congress party symbol during an election roadshow in Mumbai. Image for representation.(AFP file photo)

Bhagwan Barad,a Congress member of the Gujarat assembly, was divested of his seat on Tuesday after a local court convicted and sentenced him to nearly three years in jail in an 18-year-old illegal mining case, disqualifying him from holding a lawmaker’s position.

“Talala MLA Bhagwan Barad, as per Supreme Court order, and subsequent circulation by the Election Commission, has been disqualified March 1 (the day the court verdict was delivered),’’ speaker Rajendra Trivedi said in an order. The apex court in 2013 ruled that convicted MPs or state assemblies should be immediately disqualified.

In the past nine months, the Congress has lost three MLAs which include Kunvarji Bavaliya and Asha Patel, who resigned from the party and joined BJP. Bavaliya was made a minister in the Vijay Rupani government and he got re-elected in the Jasdan bypoll in December. With Bavaliya’s victory, the BJP tally in the assembly increased to 100 seats while the Congress has 74 in the 182-member assembly.

Trivedi said the documents on the case against Barad were submitted by the state government’s legal department and he was bound to follow the SC order.

Judicial magistrate (first class) Sunil Mehta of Somnath district pronounced Barad guilty of stealing around 280,000 tonnes of limestone worth ₹2.83 crore after illegally mining it from Gauchar (pastoral land) in Sutrapada town in 1995. He has been awarded two years and nine months of jail.

First Published: Mar 05, 2019 19:46 IST