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A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Meghalaya Thursday sentenced a Supreme Court lawyer, Halida Khatoon, to five years in jail on charges of trying to tamper with evidence in a corruption case against her.

Special Judge S.R. Sen also fined Khatoon Rs.5,000 for bribing a CBI constable Rs.1 lakh in exchange for documentary evidences in a case against her for submitting forged bills amounting to Rs.8.5 lakh to the Indian Council for Agriculture Research (ICAR) in 1996 showing as her legal fees.

In his judgment, Sen said: “The most distressing (feature) of corruption in India is that it is not any more confined to politicians or the government machinery.”

“Giving and accepting bribes has become almost a fashion of modern materialistic life. But it really hurts when the corruption is in the form of bribe, being indulged in by a person who is a lawyer, whose motto in life should have been honesty, integrity and character,” Sen said.

The then director of ICAR-North East Hill Region had filed a case against Khatoon for giving “inflated bills” with regard to her fees.

On April 23, 2002, Khatoon was caught by CBI officers while trying to bribe a CBI constable.

The special court also charged Khatoon with attempting to destroy vital evidence against her.

Khatoon’s lawyer said they would appeal to the Gauhati High Court against the ruling.

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