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Sampangi becomes a jailbird: another ignominy for BJP
The latest name to be added on to the corruption roll of honour in Karnataka is that of Kolar Gold Fields MLA, Mr Y Sampangi. What makes him stand out is that for the first time, a sitting Assembly member has been packed off to jail on bribery charges by a special Lokayukta court.
The MLA, walked into Parappana Agrahara prison on June 2 to spend the first day of the 3.5-years he would spend there for accepting a bribe of Rs 5 lakhs. He has appealed against the order and the matter will come up for hearing tomorrow (June 5).
Coming close on the heels of the imprisonment awarded to another former BJP MLA, Mr Bangaru Laxman, in the neighbouring State of Andhra Pradesh for accepting bribes from a fake arms dealer (a sting operation by Tehelka), it has made the second serious dent to the image of the Lotus party in South India.
In fact, at least 15 BJP law makers of Karnataka, including three serving ministers and a former Chief Minister, are now fighting legal battles with charges against them ranging from illegal mining, bribery, land scams, housing scams and even rape.
Getting back to Mr Sampangi, Lokayukta Judge, Mr N K Sudhindra Rao, said, “This punishment should act as a deterrent to others and set an example.” He has been convicted under three different sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code.
Mr Sampangi would have got away with the crime but for some smart work by the Lokayukta. The cops trapped him on January 29, 2009, when he was accepting Rs 50,000 cash and a cheque for Rs 4.5 lakh from businessman Mr Hussain Farooq to settle a property dispute.
In 2010, the legislature House Panel constituted to look into corruption charges gave a clean chit to Mr Sampangi citing lack of evidence. The case took a U-turn when the complainant, Mr Farooq approached the High Court appealing for cancellation of bail granted to Mr Sampangi, as his life was under threat.
The Lokayukta cancelled Sampangi’s bail for threatening witnesses. But he obtained bail after Lokayukta police arrested him. However, the court framed charges against him.
As Mr H D Kumaraswamy, JD(S) President, said, “The conviction of MLA, Mr. Sampangi, in the bribery case is a warning bell to others indulging in such acts.”
By Rupsa Chakraborty
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