A district court in Mohali has sentenced Punjab Agriculture Minister Tota Singh to one year in jail for misusing his official position. Mr Singh was found guilty for misusing his official vehicle while he was minister between 1997-2002 in the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition government.
Mr Singh has, however, been granted bail by the court and has also been given one month's time to appeal before a higher court.
While pronouncing the verdict, judge Rajinder Aggarwal also slapped a fine of Rs. 30,000 on the minister. The court said that in case the minster defaults in paying the fine he would have to further undergo six months in prison. Mr Singh, who was present in the court at the time of pronouncement of the verdict, immediately paid the fine.
Mr Singh was, however, acquitted in another case related to disproportionate assets by the district court. The Punjab Vigilance Bureau had in 2002 booked him for possessing property worth Rs. 10 crore, which was stated to be disproportionate to his known sources of income during the SAD-BJP regime from 1997-2002.
Reacting to the minister being convicted, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said the court has already made a decision and the law should take its course.
Tota Singh is the second minister from the Punjab cabinet to be convicted within two months. Bibi Jagir Kaur was convicted in March in a case related to the mysterious death of her daughter.
(With PTI Inputs