Criminal cases against politicians: Only 4% convicted in Telangana

Out of the total 338 cases disposed of in Special Court since 2018, only in 14 (4%) cases the accused have been convicted. In 324 (96%) cases, the accused have been acquitted.

By Sumit Jha  Published on  16 Feb 2022 3:52 AM GMT
Criminal cases against politicians: Only 4% convicted in Telangana

Hyderabad: On January 29, 2021, Special Sessions Judge sentenced Goshamahal BJP MLA T. Raja Singh to one year in jail for criminal assault and threatening the police in 2015. A fine of Rs 5,000 was also slapped on him.

This special court was dealing with cases related to MPs and MLAs. Telangana High Court later granted him bail. This case is about a 'Beef Festival' that was organized in 2015 at the Osmania University by the Joint Action Committee of students. This was one of the first convictions in the Special Court of MPs and MLAs since 2018.

Out of the total 338 cases disposed of in Special Court since 2018, only in 14 (4%) cases the accused have been convicted. In 324 (96%) cases, the accused have been acquitted. Also, out of a total of 14 convictions, only in 4 cases, the accused MLAs and MPs have been sentenced to jail terms.

To try cases pending against the Members of Legislative Assembly, Members of Parliament, and Ex-Members of Legislative Assembly or Ex-Members of Parliament, the Supreme Court directed all state governments to establish Special Courts. Accordingly, the Government of Telangana issued the order on February 23, 2018, to establish a Special Court.

To find out the number of cases pending against MLAs and MPs, Forum for Good Governance (FGG), a nonprofit organization collected data from the affidavits filed along with nomination papers of MLAs and MPs of Telangana in 2018 and 2019 elections.

As per the analysis of FGG, 64 MLAs have a total of 344 cases, 10 MPs have a total of 133 cases, and Ex-MLAs and Ex-MPs 30 cases which brings the total to 507 cases. As per the Supreme Court order, all these cases existing in various courts in districts have to be transferred to Special Sessions Judge for the trial.

As per information received through RTI from Special Court, so far 380 cases are transferred to Special Court. Out of 380 cases transferred to Special Court and 338 cases are disposed of.

"A large number of criminal cases against Members of Legislative Assembly and Members of Parliament from Telangana are being acquitted in Special Court due to lack of proper persuasion from prosecution," said M. Padmanabha Reddy, Secretary, Forum for Good Governance.

FGG also finds out that out of 324 cases acquitted so far, no appeal was preferred in a higher court. Further in cases where imprisonment was awarded, the accused got a stay from High Court.

The acquittals

MLA of Chandrayangutta and AIMIM floor leader in the state Akbarudin Owaisi was booked under section 153 – A, 188 of IPC, and Section 125 of Representation of the People Act for delivering a provocative speech in a public. The entire meeting speech was video graphed and police seized the videocassette. Sub Inspector of Police Chandrayangutta registered the case in crime No. 77 of 2004.

After the inquiry, the case was referred to the government for permission to prosecute the accused. After a delay of 10 years, permission was accorded to prosecute the accused in 2014. It took another 4 years for the police to file the charge sheet.

The XIV Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate in 2018 took cognizance for the offense under section 153 – A, 188 of I.P.C. and sec. 125 of R.P. Act and numbered the charge sheet as C.C. No. 501 of 2018. Consequent to the establishment of the Special Court this matter was transferred to Special Court.

On November 16, the judge of the Special Court delivered the Judgment. "The court is of the opinion that the prosecution failed to prove the guilt of the accused hence the accused is found not guilty of the charges," the judge said.

Top politicians including Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao, K.T. Rama Rao, Bandaru Dattatreya have been acquitted in most of the cases.

BJP MLA from Goshamahal T. Raja Singh has been acquitted in 10 cases. KCR has been acquitted in eight cases.

KTR, Minister for Municipal Administration and Urban Development, Industry and Commerce, Information Technology, and Finance Minister T. Harish Rao were acquitted in three cases each.

Bandaru Dattatreya, Governor of Himachal Pradesh and BJP leader, Union Minister of Home for State, G. Kishan Reddy, and Congress Working President and MP from Medchal A. Revanth Reddy have also been acquitted in a case each.

Akbaruddin Owaisi was also acquitted in two cases, while the minister for Animal Husbandry, Fisheries, and Cinematography, Talasani Srinivas Yadav was acquitted in three cases. Politicians such as K. Kavitha, Eatala Rajendra, K. Vidya Sagar Rao, T. Padma Rao are among 49 politicians who got acquitted in a total of 86 cases.

"Due to slackness on the part of prosecution many serious (cases) crimes committed by MLAs and MPs are being acquitted in the Court. Explaining all the facts we have submitted a representation in July 2021, to the Governor till date there is no improvement in the situation,' said M. Padmanabha Reddy, Secretary, Forum for Good Governance.

Forum for Good Governance wrote to the Chief Justice of Telangana to issue suitable direction to prosecuting authorities to take an interest, to produce all the relevant and connected records in the court, and produce the witness relating to the case. Further, it also requested to direct the prosecution to prefer appeals in important acquitted cases.

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