Sena Lok Sabha candidate Gholap sentenced to 3 years in prison

Sena Lok Sabha candidate Gholap sentenced to 3 years in prison

In a major setback to former Maharashtra social welfare minister Babanrao Gholap, the special Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) court here sentenced him and his wife, to three years' imprisonment, in a disproportionate assets case.

The court also imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on them. Presently an MLA from a constituency in Nashik, Gholap was social welfare minister in the BJP-Shiv Sena led Maharashtra government in 1995 and had resigned in 1999 due to allegations of corruption. He was recently declared as the Shiv Sena's candidate from the Shirdi Lok Sabha constituency.

Gholap's conviction assumes significance, since he has been legally barred from contesting elections. Special ACB Judge A V Daulatabadkar held Gholap and his wife Shashikala guilty of amassing property disproportionate to their known sources of income.

"The court has convicted Gholap and Shashikala, sentencing them to three years of imprisonment. They were later given bail by the court," Chief Public Prosecutor Kalpana Chavan said.

The case came to fore in 1999, after one Milind Yavatkar filed a complaint in court alleging that Gholap had amassed property which is disproportionate to his known sources of income.

The court had directed the ACB to investigate the case, after which the ACB registered a case in 2001 and later filed a chargesheet against them. "The case was that Gholap had amassed assets which were 194 per cent more than his known sources of income," Chavan said.

Chavan said that she examined 35 witnesses in court to prove the case, though the prosecution had submitted a list of 194 witnesses to the court.