After a prolonged trial lasting nearly 13 years, a designated Central Bureau of Investigation court on Monday sentenced former Sikkim chief minister Nar Bahadur Bhandari to one month in jail in a disproportionate assets case.
The sentence delivered under Section 389 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947, also included a fine of Rs 5,000 to be paid by Bhandari.
However, the court of special CBI Judge S W Lepcha immediately granted bail to Bhandari after he furnished a personal bond of Rs 25,000.
Arguing on behalf of Bhandari, the defense counsel prayed that the quantum of punishment should be reduced to a minmum considering the advanced age and poor health of the convict.
The chargesheet filed by the CBI in this case in September 1994 accuses Bhandari of misusing his position as the chief minister of Sikkim in the mid-eighties and acquiring assets worth Rs 15.22 lakh disproportionate to his known sources of income, including a five-storey building named Primula Cottage in the heart of Gangtok.
The case RC5(A)/84/ACU was first registered by the CBI against Bhandari in 1984, but the chargesheet in the case could be filed only in September 1994.
Bhandari had been convicted and held guilty in this case on May 26 under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, and on Monday the quantum of punishment was to be pronounced.
The special CBI Judge S W Lepcha pronounced the sentence to a packed court in the presence of Bhandari, his supporters, defense and CBI lawyers and members of the press.
Bhandari, chief minister of Sikkim from 1979 to 1994, is currently the president of the Sikkim Pradesh Congress Committee.