New Delhi, March 5
The Delhi High Court today upheld the 10-year jail term awarded to former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, his son Ajay Chautala and three others for corruption in a teachers’ recruitment scam case.
(See video: HC upholds 10-year sentence for Chautala, son)
Justice Siddharth Mridul also upheld the 10-year sentence of Sher Singh Badshami and two IAS officers Vidya Dhar and Sanjiv Kumar, saying they “vilified” the process of recruiting teachers and “marred” the exercise by “corruption”.
The judge also said that the convicts “challenged the ethical standards of other public servants” and “pressurised” others to do their bidding.
The high court also modified to two years the sentence of the remaining 50 convicts. It disposed of all the bail applications pending before it and directed them to surrender.
It also said that those who have already served their two-year sentence will be released.
78-year-old Chautala had on February 7 moved the Delhi High Court challenging his conviction and sentence, seeking suspension of his jail term on the ground that “he was unwell and suffering from various ailments”.
The INLD chief, his MLA son Ajay Chautala and 53 others including two IAS officers were convicted on January 16 by the trial court for illegally recruiting 3,206 Junior Basic Trained (JBT) teachers in Haryana in 2000.
The court had awarded 10-year imprisonment to Chautalas and three others—Sanjiv Kumar, the then Director of Primary Education, Chautala’s former Officer on Special Duty Vidya Dhar, both IAS officers, and Political Adviser to then Haryana CM Sher Singh Badshami.
All the 55 convicts had been convicted and sentenced under sections 120B(criminal conspiracy), 418(cheating), 467 (forgery), 471 (using forged documents as genuine) of the IPC and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Chronology of events
Jun 5, 2003: Haryana IAS officer Sanjiv Kumar (now under suspension and sentenced to ten years in jail), moves the SC, complaining large-scale corruption and tampering of records in recruitment of 3,206 JBT teachers in the state.
Nov 25, 2003: SC orders CBI probe.
Dec 12, 2003: CBI registers a preliminary enquiry (PE).
May 24, 2004: CBI registers a regular case against 62 persons under various provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
May 2004-2008: CBI probe reveals involvement of former Haryana CM OP Chautala, his elder son Ajay Chautala, Sanjiv Kumar and others.
Jun 6, 2008: CBI files a chargesheet in the court of Special CBI judge against 62 persons including Chautalas, Kumar, then Director of Primary Education, O P Chautala’s former Officer on Special Duty Vidya Dhar, both IAS officers, and Sher Singh Badshami, O P Chautala’s ex-Political Adviser.
Jun 16, 2008: CBI court takes cognisance of chargesheet.
Jul 23, 2011: Charges framed against 61 accused. A retired official of Haryana Education Department discharged.
Aug 4, 2012: Defence evidence concludes.
Dec 17, 2012: Final arguments in the case conclude.
During the trial, six accused (retired Education Department officials) pass away leaving 55 accused in the case.
Jan 16, 2013: Court convicts Chautalas and 53 others.
Jan 22, 2013: Chautalas, Sanjiv Kumar and seven others awarded 10 year jail term. 44 get four years, one handed down five years jail term.
Feb 7, 2013: O P Chautala moves Delhi High Court against his conviction.
Jul 11, 2014: HC reserves judgement on appeal against trial court’s conviction order.
Mar 5, 2015: HC upholds trial court’s order, awarding 10-year jail term to Chautalas and three others and modifies the quantum of sentence of other 50 convicts to two years. — PTI