Rasheed Masood granted bail by the Supreme Court

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Former Rajya Sabha member, Rasheed Masood was granted bail on Monday. He was the first parliamentarian to be disqualified after he was convicted in a corruption case and sentenced to four years imprisonment.

The politician had been languishing in jail since October 1, 2013 after he was convicted in a case of corruption, which involved fraudulent nomination of unqualified and undeserving candidates to MBBS seats from the central pool while he was the health minister. Rasheed Masood was the health minister during the VP Singh led government which was in power for 11 months from 1990 to 1991. He had allotted seats from the central pool in Tripura medical colleges to 3 persons, including his nephew and Sachidanad Dwivedi

Rasheed Masood was a Rajya Sabha member when he was convicted. In accordance with the Supreme Court’s judgment in Lily Thomas v Union of India which disqualifies those politicians who have been convicted and sentenced to more than 2 years jail-term, with immediate effect, Rasheed Masood was disqualified from his Rajya Sabha membership. The said judgment struck down a provision in the Representation of People Act which allowed a Member of Parliament or a Member of Legislative Assembly or a Member of Legislative Council to retain their seats (even after their conviction) until the exhaustion of all their remedies.

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On Monday, a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and PC Pant granted bail to Rasheed Masood on medical grounds after asking him to present a bail bond of Rs. 2 lakh and 2 sureties of the same amount. The Court rejected the arguments of Additional Solicitor General, Maninder Singh opposing the bail, while appearing on behalf of the CBI. Earlier, senior advocate KTS Tulsi, while appearing on behalf of Masood had argued that Mr. Masood is ailing and needs to be granted bail in order to be treated. He added that Mr. Masood is suffering from acute diabetes and in order to treat himself, he needs insulin to be administered to him regularly without fail for several times during the day. Masood said that he had suffered immensely since his trial has been going on for 17 years.

The petition had been filed by advocate Archit Upadhaya, challenging the Delhi High Court order rejecting Masood’s bail plea in November last year. The High Court had turned down Masood’s bail request stating that the allegations levelled against him are very serious and even though the jail authorities will provide him with the necessary medical facilities, he can’t be granted bail.

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by Siddhartha Singh