Ruling BJP leader in Madhya Pradesh gets five years jail in 2011 opium smuggling case

Ruling BJP leader and vice chairman of Mandsaur district panchayat, Gunwant Patidar, was sentenced to five years in jail by a special court on Saturday in a 2011 case of opium smuggling.

Published: 29th July 2017 11:47 PM  |   Last Updated: 30th July 2017 12:20 AM   |  A+A-

Gunwant Patidar’s (L) five-year sentence is seen as an embarrassment for the ruling BJP which has been on the back foot since the June 2017 farmers unrest. | Express Photo Service

By Express News Service

BHOPAL: Ruling BJP leader and vice chairman of Mandsaur district panchayat, Gunwant Patidar, was sentenced to five years in jail by a special court on Saturday in a 2011 case of opium smuggling.
 
Gunwant Patidar was among BJP leaders who had reportedly accompanied kin of farmers killed in the June 6 Mandsaur firing to meet chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and force him to end his 28-hour fast for peace at Bhopal’s Dusshera Ground on June 10.
 
A special court (NDPS Act) in Mandsaur district pronounced the judgment in a 2011 opium smuggling case on Saturday. The court held Patidar guilty for smuggling and transporting 1.5 kg opium under Section 8/18 of NDPS Act.
 
Based on the evidence submitted by the prosecution in the case, the special judge (NDPS Act) in Mandsaur district, JC Rathore convicted Patidar for illegally transporting opium on February 15, 2011, and awarded him five years imprisonment, besides slapping a penalty of Rs 75,000 on the convict.
 
The prosecution counsel Nitesh Krishnan told media persons that Gunwant Patidar, the Mandsaur district panchayat vice chairman was on bail in the case.
 
“Patidar had also tried to delay proceedings in the case by submitting before the court in earlier hearings that he was suffering from a mental ailment, but owing to want of evidence to support his requests, the court didn’t consider his submissions,” Krishnan added.
 
Gunwant Patidar’s five-year sentence is seen as an embarrassment for the ruling BJP which has been on the back foot since the June 2017 farmers unrest and death of six farmers in the alleged police firing and brutality in Mandsaur district.
 
Gunwant Patidar, who was convicted in the NDPS Act case on Saturday reportedly was among those who had reportedly accompanied farmers’ kin to meet the CM at the venue on June 10 in Bhopal.
The CM had ended his fast after which top BJP leaders claimed that the slain farmers’ kin had requested him to end the fast.
 
However, some media reports later showed that local BJP leaders had influenced the farmers’ family members to meet Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Bhopal and end his fast, failing which they would not get the Rs one crore compensation.
 
Shivraj Singh Chouhan, however, has repeatedly denied such media reports, the latest being in the state assembly on July 19 during the 11-hour long debate on the same issue.

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