AGRA: A special MP/MLA court in Agra district on Saturday sentenced senior BJP leader and Etawah MP Ram Shankar Katheria to two years of imprisonment in a 12-year-old case. He has been convicted under IPC sections 147 (rioting) and 323 (voluntarily causing hurt). The court also imposed a penalty of Rs 50,000 on the ex-Union minister.

The case dates back to November 16, 2011, when Katheria — the Agra MP at the time — along with 10-15 supporters barged into the office of Torrent Power, a power distribution franchise providing services in Agra. The firm’s office was allegedly vandalised and a manager attacked. An FIR was registered against Katheria following a complaint by a company representative.
Senior lawyers pointed out that Katheria is likely to get disqualified as the law mandates it in case of imprisonment of two or more years under Representation of People Act, 1951 and also barred from contesting elections for the next six years.

Katheria, who attended the court proceedings on Saturday, told TOI, “During the time of the BSP government in the state, various politically-motivated cases were registered against me. This was one of them. The court has given a decision against me today. I respect it, I’ve the right to appeal against it in a higher court. I will exercise that right.”
The 58-year-old lawmaker, also a professor of Hindi at Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar University in Agra, had been associated with the RSS at an early age. He was twice elected MP from the Agra Lok Sabha seat. In the 2019 election, BJP fielded him from Etawah and he became MP for the third time.
Katheria, who belongs to the Dhanuk community, a Dalit sub-caste, was appointed national general secretary of BJP in 2014. He served as the Union MoS at the HRD ministry from November 2014 to July 2016. He was also the chairperson of National Commission for SC, and is a member of Parliament’s standing committee on defence and consultative committee, ministry of home affairs.
As per the affidavit filed ahead of the 2019 LS election, Katheria had 12 criminal cases pending against him, with most of them registered between 2010 and 2013. The common charge in nine of the cases was “rioting”.
In the run-up to the LS polls in April 2019, Katheria was booked for allegedly assaulting a cop at . Later in July of that year, he was booked in a case related to an attack on a toll plaza staff at Yamuna Expressway in Agra.

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