A special court in Lucknow on Friday sentenced former Uttar Pradesh minister Gayatri Prajapati and two others to life imprisonment in a gangrape case, Live Law reported.

Special Judge (MP/MLA court) Pawan Kumar Rai also fined Prajapati and the other two convicts – Ashok Tiwari and Ashish Shukla – Rs 2 lakh each.

On Wednesday, the judge had held them guilty under Section 376D (gangrape) of the Indian Penal Code and sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. The court, however, acquitted four others named Vikas Varma, Amrendra Singh “Pintu”, Chandrapal and Rupeshwar “Rupesh” due to lack of evidence.

Prajapati was arrested on March 15, 2017, after a 35-year-old woman from Chitrakoot district alleged that he and six of his aides raped her and molested her minor daughter in 2014 when he was a minister in the Samajwadi Party government.

Prajapati held the transport and mining portfolios in the Akhilesh Yadav-led government at that time.

Before his arrest, the Samajwadi Party leader had been absconding for a while after the Supreme Court had directed an FIR against him on February 17.

He had alleged a conspiracy against him and been granted bail, but the Allahabad High Court had stayed his relief order, after which he was sent back to jail.

During arguments on the sentencing on Friday, Prajapati’s lawyer had sought leniency. However, the prosecution opposed the plea, arguing that he misused his power and position as a minister, PTI reported.

Prajapati is also facing accusations in a case related to the renewal of sand mining licences allegedly in violation of the e-tendering process. The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered two cases in this regard.

The agency has alleged that Prajapati used his influence as a minister to renew the leases of two persons.