New Delhi, Oct 22 (PTI): Congress leader Rashid Masood on Tuesday moved the Delhi High Court challenging his conviction and four-year jail term in a corruption case dating back to 1990 that has just cost him his Rajya Sabha seat.
Justice Hima Kohli issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation and sought its response by November 13 on Masood's appeal.
Masood's counsel H R Khan Suhail also sought suspension of his client's jail term on medical grounds.
He said Masood, 67, is an acute diabetic and is taking insulin several times a day besides other medicines for his ailments. He also submitted that the trial was going on against Masood for past 17 years and he has been in custody since October 1, when he was sentenced to four years jail by the trial court.
Masood, as health minister in the National Front government, had nominated undeserving candidates to the MBBS seats allotted to Tripura in medical colleges across the country from the central pool. Tripura got such seats since it did not have any medical college.
Masood is the first member of Parliament to lose his seat after the July 10 Supreme Court judgment that removed a shield for convicted lawmakers. Till then, convicted lawmakers could stay on by filing appeals to higher courts.
Masood was held guilty of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and IPC Sections 120B(criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating) and 468 (forgery), but was acquitted of the charge under Section 471 IPC (using as genuine a forged document).
The trial court had also jailed two other public servants-- Gurdial Singh, a former Indian Police Service officer, and Amal Kumar Roay, then secretary to Tripura’s chief minister.
The court has also convicted nine students in the case, jailing them for a year each. They were released on bail to file an appeal against their conviction and sentence before higher courts.
Two of the nine students convicted, including Masood's nephew, were juveniles at the time of the offence and their case had been transferred to the Juvenile Justice Board on January 25, 2007.
The then chief minister of Tripura, Sudhir Ranjan Majumdar, and the then health minister, Kashi Ram Reang, were also accused in the case. They passed away during the pendency of the trial.
During 1990-91, Masood had, in conspiracy with Gurdial Singh, who was then resident commissioner of Tripura, nominated his nephew and another boy, Sachidanand Dwivedi, to seats allocated from central pool for students of Tripura.
Sachidanand, one of the three students who secured admission in medical college through Masood, has also been held guilty for conspiracy, cheating, forgery for purpose of cheating, and under the provisions of PC Act.
Masood has been held guilty on same counts in two other similar cases. The three cases in which the Congress leader has been convicted form part of 11 such cases registered by CBI in 1996.