Former Minister Harinarayan Ray Remains Imprisoned After Jharkhand High Court Upholds Conviction of CBI Court in Ranchi

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The CBI Court convicted the former minister Harinarayan Ray, his wife, and brother in a disproportionate assets case and sentenced them to five years of imprisonment. All three appealed against this conviction to the Jharkhand High court. The High Court upheld the conviction order of the CBI court and dismissed the appeals. 

Facts

In 2012, the CBI filed a charge sheet against the appellant Harinarayan Rai, the former minister of Jharkhand for earning Rs 1,46,25,354, which was 94 per cent more than his income in his name and the name of his wife and co-convict Smt. Sushila Devi, and his brother and co-convict Sanjay Kumar Ray. 

Allegations were made that the appellants-accused crossed all the limits of corruption and misappropriation of money of the public at large and are using the same for their benefit. They also acquired properties worth crores of rupees within a span of 3 years Harinarayan Ray becoming the Minister of the State of Jharkhand. A bungalow, dairy farm, pond, in the name of the Minister were found in his ancestral village in Ranchi and Deoghar in addition to a property worth Rs. 42 lakhs in the name of his wife & brother.

In 2016, the CBI court convicted Harinarayan Ray, Smt. Sushila Devi and Sanjay Kuman Ray in a disproportionate assets case and sentenced them to five years of imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 50,000 each. All three have appealed against this conviction in the present appeal to the Jharkhand High Court.

Arguments

In this appeal, the appellant contended that since the trial Court had failed to combine the two charge sheets – one by the vigilance bureau and the other by the CBI, the trial was vitiated. The court found no merit in this limb of the argument of the appellants, as it is not disputed that this court has ordered for reinvestigation of the case in supersession of the earlier investigation done by the vigilance bureau.

The prosecution submitted that they had investigated 91 witnesses to prove that the appellant- Hari Narayan Ray possessed assets in his name, in the name of his brother-appellant Sanjay Ray and in the name of his wife Sushila Devi, disproportionate to the known sources of income which he could not satisfactorily account for.

Observation

The court observed that the appellant could not satisfactorily account for and had been convicted for the offence of a disproportionate assets case of Rs 1.46 crore.

The appellants, Sanjay Kumar Ray and Smt. Sushila Devi, had been held guilty for actively abetting the co-convict Hari Narayan Ray in the commission of the offence of criminal misconduct of acquiring property in their names though both of them had no sufficient means of income to acquire such huge property in their names to avoid its detection.

Decision

The Single Judge Bench of Justice Anil Kumar Chaudhary upheld the conviction of the three, dismissing the appeal petition. The Court, in its order, has stated that the decision of the CBI court is correct and there is no need to interfere with it.

Click here to view the judgement


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