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Sikkim High Court upholds conviction of former CM Nar Bahadur Bhandari

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The Sikkim High Court has upheld the conviction of former Sikkim Chief Minister Nar Bahadur Bhandari and then Rural Development Secretary P K Pradhan on charges of corruption in a 27-year-old case.

Mr Bhandari, Mr Pradhan and others were convicted under section 120 (B) of the Indian Penal Code and section 5(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947.

A press release from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said the court, however, reduced the sentence of simple imprisonment of six months passed by the trial court to one month with a fine of Rs 5000 as more then 27 years have passed since the commission of the offence.

During the interregnum, the appellant had no doubt suffered in body and mind, the court noted.

Against the other accused, the sentence of imprisonment was set aside and sentence of payment of fine remained unaltered. Sentence against 4 of the private parties was set aside.

The CBI had registered a case in 1984 against Mr Bhandari and others, including Mr Puran Kumar Pradhan, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, who later became Chief Secretary of the State.

They were accused of entering into a criminal conspiracy during 1983 -84 by abusing their official position as public servants in the matter of awarding a contract on higher rates in Rural Water Supply Scheme to private contractors by which wrongful loss was caused to Government and corresponding wrongful gain to private contractors.

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The CBI filed charge sheet in 1994 and charges were framed in the year 2002 against the accused.

The case ended in conviction in the court of Special Judge, Gangtok on October 25, 2008. The accused persons filed an appeal before the Sikkim High Court. The High Court on August 9 this year upheld the conviction.

As per the directions of the High Court, Mr Bhandari surrendered before the Special Judge, PC Act, Gangtok and has been subsequently sent to judicial custody, the release added.

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