JMM MLA awarded 2-year jail term, faces disqualification from Jharkhand assembly
Amit Mahto and seven others were charged with assaulting the then Sonahatu circle officer during a JMM procession on June 28, 2006. They allegedly tied the police officer to his chair and repeatedly thrashed him with an iron rod.ranchi Updated: Mar 23, 2018 20:17 IST
Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) legislator Amit Mahto faced disqualification from the Jharkhand assembly in the light of his conviction in a criminal case by a Ranchi court on Friday, hours after he exercised his franchise in the Rajya Sabha polls in favour of joint opposition candidate Dhiraj Sahu.
The 40-year-old MLA was awarded two years’ imprisonment in the case.
Mahto, who emerged as a giant killer in the 2014 assembly polls by defeating All Jharkhand Student Union supremo Sudesh Mahto from Silli constituency, was held guilty under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in a 12-year-old case pertaining to the assault of former Sonahatu circle officer Alok Kumar.
The court of additional judicial commissioner Diwakar Pandey also convicted seven other people involved in the case – sentencing each of them to two years’ imprisonment. All the convicts were granted bail soon afterwards.
The court asked the state police to forward the copy of its order to the assembly speaker for taking necessary action against the legislator. Mahto, however, seemed unperturbed. “Being an MLA is no big deal for me. I opted for politics only to serve the people. I will file an appeal against the verdict in the Jharkhand high court,” he said soon after emerging from the courtroom.
The contest between Sahu and BJP candidate Pradeep Sonthalia is a close one, as neither the Congress nor the saffron party has the requisite numbers to win the seat on its own. Mahto was the first legislator to exercise his franchise after voting began in the Jharkhand assembly on Friday.
Mahto’s conviction came as a major blow to the JMM, which had witnessed the disqualification of its Gomia legislator – Yogendra Prasad – two months ago. A Ramgarh court sentenced Prasad to three years in prison in a coal theft case on January 31.
Mahto faces disqualification in keeping with a 2013 Supreme Court verdict that convicted MPs and MLAs sentenced to jail for no less than two years would be disqualified from parliamentary and state assembly membership with immediate effect.
Mahto and the seven other convicts were charged with assaulting the then Sonahatu circle officer during a JMM procession on June 28, 2006. They allegedly tied Alok Kumar to his chair and repeatedly thrashed him with an iron rod. A mob led by Mahto also vandalised his car.
The court held all the eight accused guilty under sections 506 (criminal intimidation), 147 (rioting), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duty), 341 (wrongful restraint) and 427 (mischief causing damage) of the IPC.
The other convicts were identified as Kameshwar Mahto, Manjit Kumar Sahu, Shishir Kumar Mahto, Panchanan Munda, Virendra Mahto, Nand Kishore Mahto and Krishna Munda.