List of Modiís tainted ministers grows longer
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Babu Bokhiria is the fourth minister of the Narendra Modi government to be facing serious charges while in office, joining the league of Fisheries Minister Purshottam Solanki, former minister of state for home Amit Shah and former women and child welfare minister Maya Kodnani.
Bokhiria, who is Water Resources Minister, was Saturday convicted and sentenced to three years of imprisonment by a Porbandar court in an illegal mining case that dates back to 2006.
In the December 2012 Assembly polls, Bokhiria was fielded by BJP from his home town of Porbandar, a seat he had lost in 2002. This time, Bokhiria emerged as a giant killer, defeating two-time MLA and Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee president Arjun Modhwadia.
Earlier, Bokhiria had served as water resources minister in the Keshubhai Patel government.
His name also figures in a murder case in which Molu Modhwadia, a Porbandar-based miner and transporter and close aide of Arjun Modhwadia, was killed.
Solanki, as fisheries minister in the last Modi cabinet, was accused of corruption in awarding fishing contracts worth Rs 400 crore. In the last year's Assembly polls, he defeated the then Congress Legislative Party leader Shaktisinh Gohil from Bhavnagar South constituency and returned as a minister, and with the same portfolio.
Earlier, Amit Shah, a close confidant of Modi, had to resign as minister after he was arrested in connection with the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case in 2011. In 2012 polls, Shah won from Naranpura seat. Recently, he was made BJP's national general secretary and given charge of politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh.
The most serious charge was against Maya Kodnani, who was convicted for her role in the Naroda Patia massacre during the post-Godhra riots and sentenced to 28 years of imprisonment. The Modi government recently did a U-turn after seeking death penalty for her in the case.