In the first ever conviction of a Legislator in Karnataka under the Prevention of Corruption Act, a ruling BJP MLA was today sentenced to three-and-a half year rigorous imprisonment in a bribery case by the Lokayukta Special Court.
Judge N K Sudheendra Rao also imposed a fine of Rs 40,000 on Y Sampangi failing which he has to undergo imprisonment for another six months.
The judge directed the Lokayukta Deputy Superintendent of Police to issue arrest warrant on Sampangi and take him into custody.
Sampangi, who represents Kolar Gold Fields assembly constituency, was trapped by Lokayukta police on January 29, 2009 while accepting Rs 50,000 and a cheque for Rs 4.5 lakh from a person to settle a civil dispute.
He was found guilty under section 13 (1) d of the Prevention of Corruption Act in the trial that lasted more than three years.
Sampangi's conviction has come as an added embarrassment to the ruling BJP in the state where several of its leaders, including former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, are battling cases of corruption in courts.
Sampangi was also found guilty of offences punishable under sections 7 and 8 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and sentenced to one year RI with a fine of Rs 30,000 in each section.
In case of failure of payment of fine, the sentence gets extended by six months under each section. The sentences shall run concurrently, the Judge said.
The court, however, acquitted second accused Mustaq Pasha as he was found not guilty.
When counsel for Sampangi prayed for minimum punishment, Special Public Prosecutor Seetharamu argued that he should be awarded rigorous punishment as he was a "sitting MLA and was elected to serve the people. The punishment should be a deterrent for others and set an example".
At this, the court while holding that the accused had also forwarded "false evidence", observed "he was elected by the people as member of the Legislative Assembly with a great hope that their grievances will be attended to".
Businessman Farooq's complaint against Sampangi had led to the filing of the case and also the trap by the Lokayukta.
Sampangi, who was present in court, broke down when the sentence was pronounced and was seen comforted by his counsel and supporters.