Supreme Court foils underworld don’s plan to contest polls

March 4th, 2009 - 10:14 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 4 (IANS) In a judgment that could dim film star Sanjay Dutt’s chances of contesting the elections, the Supreme Court Wednesday dismissed gangster Babloo Srivastava’s plea to suspend his conviction in a murder case and enable him to fight the polls.
Justice Altmas Kabir dismissed Srivastava’s plea and agreed with Additional Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran’s argument that the underworld don has grave criminal antecedents and he had to be extradited from Singapore to bring to justice in India.

Seeking parity with cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, a Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) MP, Srivastava moved the apex court last month for suspension of his conviction in a murder case so that he could contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The apex court’s refusal to suspend Srivastava’s conviction in a murder case could well dim the chances of likes of Sanjay Dutt and Lok Sabha member Rajiv Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, who too reportedly plan to join the fray after securing suspension of their conviction in various criminal offences, feel legal experts.

Like Babloo Srivastava, they too plan to approach courts for suspension of their convictions in various criminal cases, seeking parity with Sidhu, who was granted the relief by the apex court in 2007 to fight election.

Dutt has been convicted of possessing illegal arms before the 1993 serial bombings in Mumbai. The Samajwadi Party wants to field him from Lucknow.

Sidhu had quit his Amritsar seat after the Punjab and Haryana High Court endorsed in 2007 his conviction in a case of road rage. He then approached the Supreme Court to seek suspension of his conviction to fight for the same seat in a by-poll. He won again.

Serving a life term in an Uttar Pradesh jail for murdering a bureaucrat in 1993, Srivastava moved the apex court for suspension of his conviction, saying that he wished to contest the Lok Sabha election from Lucknow.

Languishing in jail since August 1995 when he was extradited after his arrest in Singapore in April that year, Srivastava sought parity with Sidhu, saying that his conviction too in a case of unintentional killing had been suspended by the apex court to facilitate him to fight an election.

Presenting his political credentials in his lawsuit, Srivastava said he had earlier fought elections - once the Lok Sabha elections from Lucknow and once the state legislature polls from Sitapur.

In his petition, he said he was currently in talks with various political parties, which wanted to field him as official candidate from Lucknow.

An anti-terror court of Kanpur convicted Srivastava Sep 30 last year on charges of murdering additional custom collector L.D. Arra, who was shot dead in Allahabad cantonment area.

Srivastava was convicted on the basis of confessional statements by two of his accomplices, K.K. Saini and Manjit Singh, who had accused him of plotting the murder. The two were arrested by Delhi Police in 2001.

In his petition, seeking suspension of his conviction, Srivastava said that he has already moved the apex court challenging his conviction and stands a good chance of winning the case.

But he pleaded for suspension of his conviction and sentence for the time being, till the disposal of his main appeal against his conviction, so that he could fight the election.

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