BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in:  World: South Asia
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Friday, 15 March, 2002, 12:05 GMT
Ex-Indian PM cleared of bribery
Indian parliament
The allegations referred to a crucial parliamentary vote
Former Indian Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao has had his conviction on corruption charges overturned by the high court in Delhi.

PV Narasimha Rao
Mr Rao: Was the first Indian PM to be convicted
Mr Rao was sentenced to three years in jail in October 2000 in a vote-buying case.

He was the first Indian prime minister to be found guilty of corruption.

But the high court ruled on Friday that the main witness in the case, Shailendra Mahato, was unreliable and his statements were not corroborated by independent sources.

Mr Rao has been free on bail since the original conviction.

The Central Bureau of Investigation, India's main investigating agency, told the BBC after the ruling that it had yet to decide whether to appeal against the judgement.

Confidence vote

The case related to a parliamentary vote of confidence in 1993.

The earlier ruling found Mr Rao guilty of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to a regional party, the Jharkand Mukti Morcha, to support the Congress Party in the vote.

Also convicted at the time was Mr Rao's colleague, former home minister Buta Singh.

His sentence has also been overturned by the Delhi high court.

As head of the Congress Party, Mr Rao led a minority government in 1991 and is generally credited with taking the first significant steps towards reforming the Indian economy.

But in 1996, he quit as party president after the Congress suffered a humiliating defeat in general elections.

His corruption conviction was seen at the time as a landmark ruling in India, which would serve as a deterrent to others in high office.

See also:

12 Oct 00 | South Asia
Ex-Indian PM sentenced to jail
29 Sep 00 | South Asia
Bribery conviction for ex-Indian PM
09 Oct 00 | South Asia
Indian ex-minister guilty of land deal
04 Apr 00 | South Asia
Analysis: India's criminal politicians
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more South Asia stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more South Asia stories