PRESS MEET AT PRESS CLUB OF BENGALURU
Mr. Nehru C Olekar was arrayed as Accused No. 1 in Spl CC 143/2021 before the Prevention of Cದrruption Act Special Court and the Special Court for MP-MLA. The allegation in the said Complaint against him was that he has misused his position as an MLA to obtain work completion certificates from certain officials in his constituency in favour of his sons and by virtue of which his sons have procured certain tender works. The trial court convicted Mr. Nehru Olekar under Section 13 (1) D of Prevention of Corruption Act and imposed a sentence of 2 years imprisonment against him vide order dated 13/02/2023.
Challenging the said Order of sentence and conviction, Mr. Nehru Olekar through his Advocate Mr. R Swaroop Anand of LexLeo Advocates & Consultants preferred Criminal Appeal No. 390/2023 before the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka and contended that when the complaint was instituted against Mr. Olekar and referred for registration of FIR, he was an MLA and subsequently when the Charge Sheet was filed and cognisance was taken, he was an MLA and also when the order of conviction was passed, he was an MLA. The allegation against him is in discharge of his official duty thereby sanction for prosecution under Prevention of Corruption Act was necessary in all the above stages from the Speaker of the State Assembly, which is absent in the present case. Also, it was contended that there was no criminal conspiracy alleged Mr. Olekar and the other accused either under IPC or PC Act thereby, a stand alone conviction against Mr. Olekar was against law. Appreciating the said contentions, the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka found a prima facie case and passed an order suspending the sentence of 2 years imprisonment on 03/03/2023.
Subsequently, one more application was preferred before the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka seeking stay of the conviction passed by the Trial Court stating that the subsistence of conviction which was passed on untenable and frivolous grounds was causing severe prejudice to Mr. Olekar and would also subject him to disqualification under Section 8 of the Representation of People Act. The Advocate on behalf of Mr. Olekar relied on the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the case of Lok Praharaj v. Election Commission of India, wherein it was held that the High Court has the power under Section 389 CrPC to stay conviction in suitable cases and as a consequence disqualification under Section 8 of the RP Act would not apply.
The Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka appreciating the above arguments and coming to a conclusion that Mr. Olekar has a prima facie case as per the Order of suspension of sentence, and based on the law laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, suspended the Order of Conviction passed by the Trial Court by its order dated 05/04/2023, as a consequence of which Mr. Olekar does not face any disqualification under Section 8 of the RP Act and is also free to contest the upcoming Assembly Elections.
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