Gangtok, 10 Aug:

The Sikkim Krantikari Morcha president, PS Tamang [Golay], today surrendered before the Sessions Judge, Special Division II at Gangtok. The SKM leader, who was out of station since the High Court upheld his conviction by the trial court in a corruption case on 28 June, returned to the State today.

SKM party workers accompanied Mr Tamang from Rangpo till he was taken on judicial custody to the State Prison at Rongyek here.

Before surrendering to the Sessions Judge, Mr Tamang addressed party supporters and lambasted the State government for its double standards on corruption through selective targeting and its refusal to allow CBI into the state to carry out wider investigation.

His supporters also raised slogans demanding that CBI be allowed to investigate corruption cases in the state.

While surrendering to the court, Mr Tamang said that he will respect the verdict of the court and serve the jail term as pronounced by the court. He also appointed senior MLA Kunga Nima as his deputy to discharge the party functions in his absence.

On 28 June, the High Court of Sikkim had upheld the conviction of Mr Tamang for misappropriation under Prevention of Corruption Act when he was Minister for Animal Husbandry, Livestock and Fisheries in 1996-97. The conviction was pronounced by the designated PC Act Court on 28 Dec last year. He was accused of misappropriating funds to the tune of Rs. 9.50 lakh in milch cow distribution schemes of the state government and sentenced to one year in prison.

Mr Tamang was Animal Husbandry Minister during the SDF's first term in office from 1994 to 1999 and the co-accused, also convicted, in the case, Til Bahadur Gurung was Managing Director of Sikkim Milk Union at the time.

Mr Tamang is also the first person to be disqualified from the Sikkim Legislative Assembly after being convicted in a corruption case. Elected from Upper Burtuk constituency for the second time in a row in 2014, he was disqualified from SLA membership in Jan earlier this year.

Sikkim Vigilance Directorate had registered a case against the MLA after the High Court of Sikkim had issued directions to investigate into the alleged misappropriation of government funds in the distribution of milch cows to below poverty line families.

The High Court order had come after the then Sikkim Sangram Parishad leader Nar Bahadur Bhandari and Nuk Tshering Bhutia, alias Melli Sonam, had filed a Public Interest Litigation in the year 2003 and upon hearing the case, the High Court directed the Vigilance Directorate to register a case.

In 2010, Vigilance Police filed the chargesheet against Mr Tamang and seven others, however, two were discharged while framing the charges, and three were acquitted by the designated PC Act court.

It may be mentioned here that as per Section 8 of the RP Act a person convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for varying terms under Sections 8 (1) (2) and (3) stands disqualified from the date of conviction and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of six years during which he cannot contest elections.