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1-yr jail for ex-minister in graft case

Gangtok, Oct. 23: A court here today sentenced a former minister of Sikkim to one-year simple imprisonment and fined Rs 5,000 for amassing wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income.

The district and sessions judge, S.W. Lepcha, also awarded an additional three months of imprisonment to Padam Lall Gurung if he failed to pay the fine.

Yesterday, the court had found Gurung — a cabinet minister in the previous Nar Bahadur Bhandari government for two terms and an MLA representing Dentam in West Sikkim for three terms — guilty of amassing wealth worth over Rs 33.02 lakh which, it said, was disproportionate to his known sources of income.

The court, however, granted bail today to the former minister for 60 days and allowed him to appeal to a higher court against the sentence.

The 70-year-old was booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, by the state vigilance directorate which had scrutinised his assets from June 1983 to June 1994.

During this period, the court said, Gurung’s known source of income was Rs 17 lakh and his assets were Rs 73.8 lakh of which Rs 33.02 lakh was found to be disproportionate. The former minister owned 11 buildings at different places including in his village in West Sikkim.

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