Ex-minister Dilip Ray seeks stay on conviction to contest upcoming LS, Odisha elections, ET EnergyWorld

New Delhi: Former Union minister Dilip Ray, who was sentenced to three-year jail term in a coal scam case pertaining to irregularities in the allocation of a Jharkhand block in 1999, Thursday urged the Delhi High Court to grant a stay on his conviction as he wishes to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha and Odisha assembly elections. Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma issued notice to the CBI and asked it to file a status report on the application of 71-year-old Ray, a Minister of State (coal) in the erstwhile Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.

The high court listed the matter for further hearing on April 5.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Ray, submitted that the politician wishes to contest the upcoming elections and so was seeking a stay on his conviction.

The application said by virtue of Section 8(3) of the Representation of the People Act, Ray stands disqualified from contesting the forthcoming national or Odisha state assembly elections or getting nominated to the Rajya Sabha, which irreparably and irreversibly causes grave prejudice to him, especially considering his age.

Senior advocate R S Cheema and lawyer Tarannum Cheema, appearing for the CBI, said they will file a response to the application for which they need some time.

The high court had on October 27, 2020, issued notice to the CBI on Ray’s appeal challenging his conviction and sentence and suspended his three-year jail term.

However, he had then not pressed the prayer for suspension of the order on conviction in view of the appeal being listed for final disposal. The court had dismissed the application as not pressed.

On Thursday, Ray, who was also represented by senior advocate Pramod Kumar Dubey, said he was now seeking the relief with regard to suspension of the order on conviction in view of the change in circumstances.

“The change of circumstances is that non-listing of the appeal for final disposal despite passage of more than three years and the impending National General elections and Odisha state assembly elections wherein the applicant/ appellant (Ray) is aspiring to contest,” the application said.

He said he was a distinguished public figure with a long-standing record of dedicated service to the state of Odisha and the nation at large.

The plea said there are various connected and cross appeals and the chances of all them being heard and decided expeditiously are low keeping in mind the backlog. It said the delay in disposal is likely to cause irreparable loss to Ray who is aged 71 years as “this may be his last chance to contest in the elections and to pursue his life goal to serve the people of the nation or Odisha”.

Ray was sentenced to three years in jail on October 26, 2020 by a trial court which had also imposed a fine of Rs 10 lakh on him.

Besides him, the trial court had also awarded three-year jail term each to two senior officials of the ministry at that time — Pradip Kumar Banerjee and Nitya Nand Gautam. Both are now about 80 years old.

The trial court had convicted Ray of the offences of criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust by public servant and cheating under the IPC and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The court had said Ray “dishonestly facilitated” allocation of the abandoned non-nationalised coal mining area in favour of a company named CTL in violation of law.

The case pertains to allocation of Brahmadiha coal block in Giridih in Jharkhand to CTL in 1999.

  • Published On Mar 21, 2024 at 04:38 PM IST

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