A former Indian cabinet minister was remanded in custody on Wednesday (24th August) on corruption charges.
A former Indian cabinet minister was remanded in custody on Wednesday (24th August) on corruption charges. Mr. Bansi Lal, India's defense minister until Mrs. gandhi lost the election last March, is accused of misappropriating political funds while in office.
A day after being remanded in custody, Mr. Lal was freed on bail, but on Thursday (25th August) he was admitted to a local hospital after suffering from high blood pressure. He was given oxygen after apparently suffering an attack of Bronchial Asthma.
SYNOPSIS: After spending the night at a police station, the once powerful defense minister was led to a police jeep in chains to be taken to court. Outside, there was an angry crowd to greet him.
More for protection against an angry mob, than preventing an escape, nine armed guards accompanied Mr. Lal - once the strong man of former Prime Minister Gandhi's emergency rule cabinet.
An even larger crowd was waiting for Mr. Lal outside the court building, whose foundation stone he laid while Chief Minister of Haryana.
A police report accuses Mr. Lal of misappropriating 33,000 pounds sterling (56,760 US dollar) in funds belonging to the Youth Congress. His arrest was the second police action in just over a week against influential figures who were close to Mrs. Gandhi during the emergency. Mr. Lal, who was refused bail at the hearing, told the magistrate that the charges against him were politically inspired He said several people were conspiring to kill him, and if he died in police custody, the Chief Minister of Haryana and his other enemies should be held responsible.
In the capital, New Delhi, senior Congress Party officials including Mrs. Gandhi, met to discuss the arrests. A statement issued following the meeting, alleged that barbaric third degree methods of torture were used to extort confessions from their party men. The statement added however, that the Congress Party had no intension of condoning corruption, but said the main political strategy of the Janata Party seemed to be the destruction of the Congress in order to lead to single party rule.