TN minister convicted in 1998 stone-pelting case, sent to three years jail
State sports and youth welfare minister P Balakrishna Reddy, then an emerging AIADMK leader, had led protests in 1998 against the then DMK government after 46 people, including 11 women, died after consuming illicit, poisonous hooch in Hosur area of Krishnagiri district.india Updated: Jan 07, 2019 20:40 IST
Tamil Nadu sports and youth welfare minister P Balakrishna Reddy was convicted and sentenced to three year jail term by a special court here on Monday in a two-decade old case pertaining to stone throwing on buses in 1998 in the aftermath of a major hooch tragedy which claimed 46 lives.
Special Judge J Shanthi, trying pending criminal cases against lawmakers, also slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 on Reddy, an AIADMK strongman from Krishagiri district.
However, on the minister’s plea, the judge suspended the sentence to enable him to file an appeal in the Chennai High Court.
Reddy told media persons outside the court premises that he would challenge the trial court order on Tuesday itself. “I will challenge the verdict and come clean,” he said.
In the event of the high court refusing to stay the sentence, Reddy might not only lose his ministership but could also be barred from contesting any elections for the next six years as per the Representation of the Peoples Act. At present he represents Hosur assembly seat in Krishnagiri.
In the hooch tragedy of August 1998, 46 people, including 11 women, had died on the spot on consuming the illicit brew. Another 282 people from nine villages, including Soolagiri, Samappallam and Melmalai, near Hosur were affected. An emerging leader in the AIADMK then, Reddy had led a protest against the DMK government at Pagalur in which buses were stoned.
The CB-CID which took over the case found that a team of distillers headed by Selvam, belonging to the AIADMK and the then sitting Panchayat president of Kelappanahalli, had purchased methyl alcohol illegally and used it in making the brew.
As a result of the tragedy, 18 police personnel were placed under suspension.
However, the trial court at Hosur had acquitted all the 28 accused in the case as the prosecution had failed to prove the charges.
On December 28, Special Judge Shanthi had convicted former DMK legislator M Rajkumar for the rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl from Kerala who was a maid at his residence and sentenced him to a 10 year jail term.
First Published: Jan 07, 2019 20:39 IST