Modi government minister sentenced in limestone mining case
Rajkot: A senior minister in the Narendra Modi government was on Saturday sentenced to three years imprisonment by a court in Porbandar in the Rs 54-crore illegal limestone mining case of 2006.
Gujarat Water Resources minister Babu Bokhiria was convicted by Chief Judicial Magistrate CV Pandya.
Bokhiria along with former Congress MP Bharat Odedara, alleged gangster Bhima Dula Odedara, who is behind the bars in a murder case, and his son Lakshman Dula Odedara, who is chairman of Porbandar marketing yard, were sentenced to three years imprisonment and fined Rs 5,000 each.
In 2006, manager of Saurashtra Chemical Company Umesh Bhavsar had registered a complaint against the four alleging that they had illegally mined limestone from the land where the company holds mining rights.
The complaint also mentioned that they had to face a loss of Rs 54 crore due to the illegal mining done by the four persons. Porbandar is around 180 Kms from here.
Porbandar Police had arrested Bokhiria in 2007 from city airport as after the complaint, he left the country and was declared as an absconder. However, the high court had later released him on bail.
In the last state assembly elections held in December 2012, Bokhiria had defeated state Congress president Arjun Modhwadia. Bokhiria was made cabinet minister in the Modi government which took over the reins on December 25 last year.
Meanwhile, Porbandar court also gave a seven-day stay on the execution of its order so that those convicted in the case, including Bokhiria, can apply to a higher forum.
Bokhiria has said that he would appeal in the higher court against the order.
"I will appeal in the higher court against the order, as we have been given time of seven days," he said.
Replying to a question on whether he would resign from the post, Bokhiria said, "I will abide by whatever decision my party takes on the issue."
Meanwhile, BJP sources indicated that the party would take a decision in this regard after studying the court order.