Cong MP Rasheed Masood gets 4-year jail term, set to lose RS seat

Rajya Sabha member Rasheed Masood of the Congress was Tuesday sentenced to four years in jail for fraudulently nominating undeserving candidates from across the country to MBBS seats in 1990-91. 

67-year-old Masood, who attains the dubious distinction of being the first lawmaker to be disqualified after the July 10 Supreme Court judgement, was immediately taken into custody by the court.

Special CBI Court Judge J.P.S. Malik held Masood guilty on charges of corruption and other offences.  The court also imposed costs of Rs 60,000 on Masood.

Rajya Sabha member Rasheed Masood
Congress Rajya Sabha member Rasheed Masood. 

Masood was convicted of fraudulently nominating undeserving candidates from across the country to the MBBS seats allotted to Tripura medical colleges from the central pool.

He was the minister of health in the 11-month V.P. Singh government between 1990 and 1991.

Masood, who was immediately taken into custody after the sentencing, will also lose the right to contest polls for the next 10 years since a convicted leader cannot fight elections for six years from the date of release from their prison.

Masood faces immediate disqualification as the Rajya Sabha member under a recent Supreme Court ruling that a member of parliament and state legislatures stands disqualified immediately if convicted by a court for crimes with punishment of two years or more and under some other laws even without jail sentence.

The July 10 judgment of the Supreme Court struck down a provision in the electoral law that provided protection to sitting MPs and MLAs by allowing them to continue in their posts if they appeal against a lower court conviction and secure a stay of the order within 90 days.

Masood was found guilty of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and under Indian Penal Code Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating) and 468 (forgery). However, he has been acquitted of the charge of using as genuine a forged document. 

On Monday, a court in Ranchi convicted RJD chief Lalu Prasad and JD(U) leader Jagadish Sharma, both Lok Sabha members, in a fodder scam case. Their sentencing is scheduled for October 3 following which they also face disqualification. 

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