Bhandari sentenced to one month in prison

Gangtok, May 28 | Updated: May 29 2007, 05:30am hrs
After a prolonged trial lasting nearly 13 years, a designated Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Monday sentenced former Sikkim chief minister Nar Bahadur Bhandari to one month in jail in a disproportionate assets case.

The sentence delivered under Section 389 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947, also included a fine of Rs 5000 to be paid by Bhandari.

However, the court of special CBI judge SW Lepcha immediately granted bail to Bhandari after he furnished a personal bond of Rs 25,000.

Arguing on behalf of Bhandari, the defense counsel prayed that the quantum of punishment should be reduced to a minmum considering the advanced age and poor health of the convict.

The chargesheet filed by the CBI in this case in September 1994 accused Bhandari of misusing his position as the chief minister of Sikkim in the mid eighties and acquiring assets worth Rs 15.22 lakh disproportionate to his known sources of income. The assets included a five-storey building, Primula Cottage, in the heart of Gangtok.

The case, RC5 (A)/84/ACU, was first registered by the CBI against Bhandari in 1984 but the chargesheet could be filed only in September 1994. Bhandari had been convicted and held guilty on May 26 under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and the quantum of punishment was to be pronounced today.