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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 May 2007, 10:54 GMT 11:54 UK
Indian MP given life for kidnap
By Amarnath Tewary
Patna, Bihar

Bihar MP Mohammad Shahabuddin
Mohammad Shahabuddin is being tried in dozens of cases
A court in the northern Indian state of Bihar has sentenced a controversial politician to life in jail for kidnapping one of his rivals.

Mohammad Shahabuddin, an MP from the Rashtriya Janata Dal party, was found guilty of the 1999 abduction of communist politician Chhote Lal Gupta.

Mr Gupta has never been traced and police have concluded he was killed.

Shahabuddin faces charges in more than 30 other cases. His lawyers say they plan to appeal against his sentence.

Nearly one in every six legislators in India's national parliament and state assemblies faces criminal charges.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal is part of the Congress party-led federal coalition which governs India.

'Intent'

Announcing sentence in the town of Siwan, judge Gyaneshwar Prasad Srivastava said he found Shahabuddin guilty of "kidnapping with intent to murder".

The MP was also ordered to pay a fine of 10,000 rupees ($230).

Investigators say Shahabuddin kidnapped Mr Gupta, who went missing on 7 February 1999, with the help of two others.

They remain unidentified and the MP was the lone accused named in the police report.

In March, the MP was sentenced to a two-year jail term in another case relating to a 1988 attack on a Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) office near Siwan, about 100km (62 miles) north-west of the state capital, Patna.

He is being tried in dozens of other cases, including murder, kidnapping, attempted murder, possession of illegal firearms, violating the wildlife act and stealing vehicles and electricity.

Opposition parties in the state have demanded that Shahabuddin's membership of parliament be annulled.


SEE ALSO
Politics and the barrel of the gun
07 May 07 |  South Asia
Jail no bar for Bihar candidates
21 Apr 04 |  South Asia
Court to rule on jailed candidates
04 May 04 |  South Asia
Court challenge to Bihar election
30 Apr 04 |  South Asia
Indian MP's bail request refused
06 Nov 05 |  South Asia

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