PATNA: Former Jharkhand minister Harinarayan Rai was on Wednesday sentenced to five years in jail by a special CBI court in a disproportionate assets case. His wife and brother also each got five years in jail in the same case.
Rai, who was a minister from 2005 to 2009 in three governments led by BJP’s Arjun Munda, independent Madhu Koda and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) chief Shibu Soren despite having been an independent
MLA, was convicted of amassing wealth of around Rs 1.5 crore more than his known sources of income. In 2006, Rai had played a crucial role in toppling the BJP government led by Arjun Munda and then facilitating formation of the government led by Madhu Koda, who was an independent MLA.
CBI special court judge BK Tiwari also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 each on Rai, his wife Sushila Devi and his brother Sanjay Rai. The three convicts were taken back to Birsa Munda Central Jail in Jharkhand capital Ranchi soon after the sentence was pronounced.
When the defence lawyer tried to lessen the jail term of Sushila Devi, the judge said that one of the vows a woman makes during her wedding says that she must prevent her husband from committing unfair and wrong acts, said court sources. “In this case, the wife of the convict wilfully collaborated in his acts of wrong,” the judge was quoted to have said.
When Rai was a minister, a case of corruption and disproportionate asset was lodged against him at a vigilance court and a case was then registered by the anti-corruption bureau (ACB) under the court’s
direction in 2009. Rai, who absconded for months, surrendered before the court on August 17, 2009. Jharkhand High Court handed investigation of
the case against him to CBI in 2010. CBI had attached his properties in 2012.
In another unrelated incident, Saryu Rai, Jharkhand’s minister for parliamentary affairs, food and civil supply, was on Wednesday acquitted by a local court in a case of poll code violation.