In a respite to Bharatiya Janata Party’s Ichalkaranji MLA Suresh Halvankar, the Bombay High Court on Monday stayed a lower court’s order convicting him for electricity theft. The order has saved him from getting disqualified from holding his position. He can now file his nomination for the coming Assembly polls.

He has been accused of stealing electricity and causing loss to the State Electricity Board to the tune of Rs. 21 lakh. Mr. Halvankar owns a power loom factory in the State’s power loom hub.

“This means that he can continue as the MLA now, at least till the High Court decides on our appeal,” advocate Ganesh Sovani who appeared for Mr. Halvankar, said.

The MLA and his brother were charged under sections 135 and 138 of the Electricity Act, after a flying squad raid revealed that the meter of the factory was running 45 per cent slow, causing Rs. 20,97,000 lakh loss to the Electricity Board.

He was convicted and sentenced to three years’ rigorous imprisonment and Rs. 10,000 fine. In his appeal before the Bombay High Court, Mr. Halvankar said his brother was taking care of the factory and he was not involved in the day-to-day functioning.

By Anupama

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