Akali Dal leader gets seven-year jail for graft

Patiala, April 20 (IANS) A CBI special court here Saturday awarded seven-year rigorous imprisonment to Akali Dal leader Mangat Rai Bansal in an embezzlement case related with the Food Corporation of India (FCI). Twenty-two other convicts were also sent to jail.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special judge Hemant Gopal sent the ruling party leader Bansal, 54, to jail for a fraud involving Rs.1.8 crore in the 1990s.

Besides Bansal, the court sent 20 convicts to seven-year jail and two convicts to three-year imprisonment.

The convicts were held guilty for cheating, criminal conspiracy and under various sections of anti-corruption law.

“There were a total 28 accused, including three FCI employees, in this case. The accused were representing different firms that were awarded a contract of rice milling by the government. After milling, they had to give the rice to FCI but they supplied inferior quality of foodgrain,” said Pawan Kumar Dogra, CBI special lawyer.

“A complaint was filed in this regard and the Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered collection of samples and tests,” Dogra said.

Three accused died during the trial and two accused, including a woman, were acquitted by the court.

In 1997, a public interest litigation was filed by a farmer in the high court highlighting inferior quality of rice supplied by the FCI.

The high court handed over the probe to the CBI which booked Bansal and 27 others.

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