Bokhiria’s conviction stayed

RajkotA lower court had convicted Bokhiria and three others and sentenced them to three years in jail in an illegal mining case

In a relief to Water Resources Minister Babu Bokhiria and three of his relatives, the Porbandar sessions court Saturday stayed their conviction and three-year jail sentences in a 2006 case of illegal mining of limestone.

Bokhiria and three of his relatives, including a former Congress MP, were convicted and sentenced to three years in prison by a magisterial court on June 15. All four had appealed against the guilty verdict on June 17.

"The present appeal of the appellant is hereby allowed as per the Section 389 of CrPC... the conviction imposed to the appellant is hereby suspended till the finalisation of the appeal," Principal District and Sessions Judge I B Vaghela stated in his judgment.The Section 389 of Criminal Procedure Court (CrPC), 1973, provides for suspension of sentence pending the appeal in a case.

The court also stayed conviction and sentences of the three other accused in the case - former Congress MP Bharat Odedra, Bhima Dula Odedra and Lakshman Bhima Odedra. "The judgment was expected. It has stayed the conviction till the time our appeal seeking quashing of the judgment is decided," Bokhiria's lawyer S V Raju said.

Kanu Odedra, who represented the other three accused, said the judgment of the chief judicial magistrate was erroneous.

The prosecution said they would study the order before deciding their next move. "We shall wait for the full copy of the judgment and then decide on the future course of action," public prosecutor Sudhirsinh Jethwa said. All the four accused in the case were granted bail for seven days on June 15. After they appealed against their conviction, the sessions court had granted them bail pending their appeal.

However, Bhima Dula continues to remain in jail in connection with a murder case.

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