MLA Sampangi gets RI in bribery case
A Special Lokayukta court on Saturday sentenced Kolar Gold Fields MLA Y Sampangi to three-and-a-half year rigorous imprisonment. This is for the first time in the State that a sitting MLA has been convicted of graft charges.
The Bharatiya Janata Party MLA was found guilty on three counts under the Sections 7, 8 and 13(1)(d) of Prevention of Corruption Act for accepting a bribe of Rs 5 lakh. The court, however, acquitted the other accused, policeman Mushtaq Pasha, as no evidence was found against him.
Sampangi, surrounded by his supporters and mother Ramakka, burst into tears after the sentence was pronounced. He was later taken to the Parappana Agrahara Central prison.
The Lokayukta police trapped the MLA on January 29, 2009, while accepting a bribe from businessman Hussain Moyeen Farooq, who had lodged a complaint with the Lokayukta police.
Delivering the judgment, Judge N K Sudhindra Rao observed that he was elected by the people as an MLA with the great hope that their grievances would be attended to. “In the circumstances I am of the firm finding that the complaint, trap proceedings, documents and materials available on record establish the commission of offence by accused for offences under Sections 7, 8 and 13(1)(d). The record of witnesses...establish beyond all reasonable doubt that accused was in contact and also in communication with the complainant and demanded a bribe of Rs 5 lakh. The prosecution has established to the satisfaction of this court that on January 29, 2009, the accused demanded and received the bribe and was trapped by the Lokayukta police,” the court stated. It also ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove the guilt of Mushtaq Pasha. The court also observed that Sampangi had forwarded a false defence.
The court after pronouncing the verdict heard arguments wherein Sampangi’s counsel argued for minimum sentence under all the three sections. Lokayukta Special Public Prosecutor K K Sitaram argued for maximum deterrent sentence stating that it should be an eye opener not only for Karnataka, but also for the entire country.
Speaking to Deccan Herald, Farooq said it was justice for the people of Karnataka. “I have suffered and sacrificed a lot because of this case. I recall the hard days when I had to suffer and my family was threatened and when the entire system was against me. So I had an expectation that the case would have a good outcome. Tomorrow it will be helpful to people who find themselves in similar situations,” he said.
Farooq, a businessman, was involved in a land dispute with Iliyas, Nayaz and Khana Fayaz, all from Kolar Gold Fields. He approached the Lokayukta stating that he had false police complaints lodged against him at Andersonpet and they had forced him to approach the MLA to resolve the dispute.
The MLA in turn had demanded Rs 5 lakh from him to close the cases against him and also to prevent the trespassing on his land. Farooq recorded the conversation between Sampangi and him and lodged a complaint.
Based on the complaint, a team led by then Superintendent of Police Madhukar Shetty trapped the MLA while accepting the bribe—Rs 50,000 in cash and a cheque for Rs 4.5 lakh—and arrested him.
A special House Committee, which looked into corruption charges levelled against Sampangi, had recommended to the State Assembly to close the issue in March 2010.
The committee had suggested to the House that Hussain Farooq, complainant in the corruption case, be reprimanded for tarnishing the MLA’s image by making “false allegations” against him.