A Sessions Court on Saturday declined to stay former Maharashtra minister and Congress leader Sunil Kedar’s conviction in a bank scam case and also rejected his plea for suspension of sentence, observing it was a well-planned crime involving the hard-earned money of poor people and farmers.
Nagpur District Judge RS Patil also rejected the bail plea of Kedar, noting that granting any relief to him at this stage would send a wrong message to society, Government Pleader Nitin Telgote told PTI. The sessions court also noted that in view of strong evidence, there is prima facie no need to re-evaluate the lower court’s decision, Telgote added.
A magistrate’s court in Nagpur on December 22 sentenced Kedar and five others to five years’ rigorous imprisonment for misappropriation of funds at the Nagpur District Central Cooperative Bank (NDCCB) in 2002. Kedar was chairman of the bank at the time of the scam.
The court also fined the six convicts with Rs 10 lakh each.
Keadar had challenged his conviction and sentencing before the sessions court through an application filed by his lawyer Deven Chavhan, which was heard on Saturday.
As per the prosecution, the NDCCB lost Rs 125 crore in government securities in 2002 as rules were flouted while investing funds through Home Trade Private Limited.
”The sessions court observed that it was a well-planned crime involving Rs 153 crore which was the hard-earned money of poor people and farmers,” Telgote said after the district court rejected Kedar’s petition. ”The (sessions) court also observed (on Saturday) that the lower court’s decision was based on documentary evidence and a strong message regarding how strict the court is in such cases should go out. If the accused is released on bail or his sentence is suspended, it will give a wrong message to the society,” Telgote quoted Judge Patil as saying.
When there is such strong evidence, there is prima facie no need to re-evaluate the lower court’s decision today. Hence, it would not be appropriate to grant any relief at this moment, the judge noted. The magistrate court had convicted Kedar under Indian Penal Code Sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating, 471 (whoever fraudulently or dishonestly uses as genuine any document which he knows or has reason to believe to be a forged document), 120(b) (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (common intention).
Following his conviction, the state legislature secretariat disqualified Kedar as MLA from the date of his conviction on December 22 under provisions of Article 19 (1) (e) of the Constitution of India and Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.