RAJKOT: Junagadh district court on Saturday convicted Congress MLA Bhikha Joshi and his three sons in a 2008 case pertaining to trespassing and assault and also sentenced them to one year of imprisonment. However, on the request of the accused, the JMFC (Judicial magistrate first class) court of Mendarda suspended execution of the sentence to allow the accused to challenge the order in a higher forum.
According to case details, Joshi and his sons Bharat, Manoj and Jenti have been convicted under IPC sections 452 (trespassing), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt), 323 and 114, respectively, for an incident that took place at Amrapur village of Mendarda taluka on November 4, 2008 when the Joshis had assaulted one Mugar Mahmed Juneja for political rivalry.
Joshis’ lawyers demanded the court to release the accused on probation looking at their clients’ status and also arguing that the complaint is politically motivated and that the accused have no criminal record.
Rejecting the request, JMFC D J Goswami in his order noted: “The accused number 1 (Bikha) is an MLA and accused number 2 (Bharat) is a government servant. Looking at it, the accused are educated and, we can believe, are well versed with the law. This kind of persons who are educated and sitting on a high position in society like MLA and if they commit this kind of crime it can’t be taken lightly.”
In his complainant, Juneja had stated that his wife had contested the Gram Panchayat election opposing Bharat’s wife had won. The accused then wanted to take revenge on them and Bhikha Joshi called Juneja at around 9:30pm on that night demanding Rs 15,000 for what the former claimed was money spent by them for election campaign.
When Juneja refused to pay the amount, the accused came to his home accompanied by his cronies and repeated his demand. When he again denied paying them, the Joshis and their followers started hurling abuses and attacked him and his family with sword, knife, pipe and other weapons.
Accused Bharat snatched complainant’s gold chain and mobile. However, when other villagers came to help the complainant’s family, the accused left the place but while going, warned them to leave the village.
The order further said that the accused in connivance of each other, trespassed in the house of the complainant and inflicted injury. “I believe that if the accused are released on probation, it won’t serve justice and will have an adverse impact on the society,” it concluded.
Talking to TOI, Bhikha Joshi later said, “We came to know about the court order. We will challenge this order in a higher forum.”