Union minister Naqvi convicted in 2009 poll-related case

Union minister of state for minority affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who is also a vice-president of the Bharatiya Janata Party, was today Wednesday convicted by a Sessions Court in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh, for breaching
prohibitory orders during the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.

Judicial magistrate Manish Kumar held Naqvi guilty under sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 341 (wrongful restraint) and 342 (wrongful confinement) of the Indian Penal Code, the 7th Criminal Law Amendment Act, and Section 144 of CrPC.

Naqvi along with 18 other co-accused was later granted bail.

Reports said that Naqvi has been sentenced to one year of jail and fined Rs4,000. Naqvi said in a statement, "My legal team is looking into the case."

BJP supporters were chanting slogans outside the Rampur court in support of Naqvi.

The case relates to a demonstration by BJP workers led by Naqvi in the Patwai area of Rampur parliamentary constituency at the time of campaigning for the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, during which they allegedly breached the prohibitory orders in force and barged into a police station.

Among the political reactions to this development, Samajwadi Party leader Gaurav Bhatia told Times Now, "I can only say that a competent court has given its judgement. It must have taken into account all the evidence. We should wait to read the judgement in totality."

Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, "Every accused is entitled to the right to appeal. It is upto him (Naqvi) to exercise that right."

It is not yet clear whether Naqvi will have to give up his seat in Parliament under the Supreme Court judgement barring convicted persons from holding their seats in parliament or state assemblies.

The BJP will be watching whether the new law is much more than a dead letter.