New Delhi: Congress party’s Rajya Sabha member Rasheed Masood became the first casualty of the Supreme Court’s July order disqualifying Parliamentarians and state legislators if convicted of a crime and sentenced to over two years in prison.

The Tis Hazari court in Delhi sentenced the 66-year-old Masood to four years of imprisonment after finding him guilty of cheating, criminal conspiracy and forgery in allotting medical college seats to undeserving students, including two of his nephews.

Masood misused his office as the Union health minister in the VP Singh-led coalition government in the 1990s, when he was with the Samajwadi party. He joined the Congress party in 2011.

The pronouncement of Masood’s punishment comes a day after a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Ranchi found former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad guilty in a case involving embezzlement of around 37 crore from the state government treasury meant for the purchase of fodder, also in the early 1990s.

The court will pronounce the quantum of punishment for Lalu Prasad and 44 others, including another Janata Dal-United lawmaker Jagadish Sharma, on Thursday.

Although the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government cleared an ordinance to overturn the apex court’s order, severe criticism, including from the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, has delayed the process.

The government is likely to take a decision in a cabinet meeting to withdraw the proposed ordinance. The cabinet is likely to meet on Wednesday after prime minister Manmohan Singh returns from his US trip on Tuesday night.

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