Karnataka BJP legislator jailed in bribery case
Bangalore, June 2 (IANS) A Karnataka court Saturday convicted ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Y. Sampangi in a corruption case and sentenced him to three and a half years in prison.
Pronouncing the judgment against Sampangi in the bribery case, Judge N.K. Sudheendra Rao of the Lokayukta (ombudsman) special court also slapped a fine of Rs.100,000 on the legislator.
Sampangi was found guilty under Section 13 (1) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 during the trial.
After the trial court issued the arrest warrant, the ombudsman police took Sampangi into custody and took him to the central jail on the city's outskirts.
Acting on a complaint by a businessman, the Lokayukta police caught Sampangi accepting a Rs.500,000 bribe at the Legislators' Home behind Vidhana Soudha (state secretariat) in the city centre Jan 29, 2009.
Subsequently, a case was registered against the legislator for accepting bribe from the businessman (Farooq) in a land dispute case in Kolar, about 100 km from Bangalore.
Sampangi represents the Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) assembly constituency.
Hailing the conviction, former Lokayukta Justice (retd) N. Santosh Hegde later said he was satisfied that justice had prevailed and a lawmaker was sentenced to jail in a graft case for the first time in the state.
"I am glad that the law was allowed to take its course to convict a politician for taking bribe. Our officers did a commendable job during my tenure and had strong evidence against the legislator in the graft case," Hegde told reporters here.
The former Supreme Court judge was the state Lokayukta from 2007 to 2011 and investigated several graft cases, including the high-profile multi-crore mining scam in the state in which former state chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa was named as one of the beneficiaries.
"We had a strong case against Sampangi in the form of video and audio recordings made when he demanded the bribe from the complainant (Farooq) and was trapped red-handed accepting the bribe, including Rs.50,000 in cash and a cheque for Rs.4.5 lakh," Hegde recalled.
Hegde, however, expressed disappointment that the anti-graft institute (Lokayukta) remained headless for over a year, as the state government failed to appoint its head after his successor Justice Shivaraj Patil resigned in September 2011.
"It is very important to have the institution fully functional with the Lokayukta to fight corruption case in public life involving politicians, legislators and senior officials," Hegde observed.
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