Om Prakash Chautala misused official position for self-interest: CBI court : The Tribune India

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Om Prakash Chautala misused official position for self-interest: CBI court

Money laundering case pending against ex-CM

Om Prakash Chautala misused official position for self-interest: CBI court

Forrmer Haryana CM Om Prakash Chautala - File photo

Tribune News Service

Bhartesh Singh Thakur

Chandigarh, May 27

The punishment in the JBT teachers recruitment scam, pending Enforcement Directorate (ED) trial for money laundering, and the misuse of official position “for promoting self-interests” in the disproportionate assets (DA) case went against former Haryana CM Om Prakash Chautala in treating him with leniency while deciding the quantum of punishment.  

The CBI Special Court said that in sentencing a convict, the balance of aggravating and mitigating factors has to be taken into account. The mitigating factors included that Chautala was aged 87 years, suffering 60 per cent disability due to polio and have ailments like hypertension, diabetes, coronary artery disease, lower respiratory tract infection, and that the trial went for 12 years.   

Among the aggravating factors, the court counted his punishment of 10 years in the JBT teachers recruitment scam in 2013 where he abused his official position of being state CM by replacing the list of meritorious candidates with another list. A case of money laundering is pending against him where charges have been framed.  

Another aggravating factor was the factum of gravity of the offence in the DA case, where after becoming MLA/CM he had taken the oath to faithfully and conscientiously discharge his duties for the state and the people as per the Constitution of India, observed the court.  

The court added that from 1993-2005, the convict instead of working honestly in the public interest, had, in fact, worked to promote his self-interest by acquiring assets to the tune of 103 per cent of his known source of income and the value of disproportionate assets was Rs.2.81 crore.  

“In the light of aforementioned facts, the maxim 'power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely’ can be applied to the case of convict,” added the court.  

Special Judge (PC) Act CBI Vikas Dhull said that the galloping rise in cases of public servants misusing official positions to acquire assets “weighs in the mind of this court against leniency in sentencing the convict so that a strong message is sent to potential offenders" that they would not only be punished heavily but their properties so acquired should be liable for confiscation. 

On health ailments, the court noted that they were manageable and not life-threatening and there was no document on record to show that the incarceration would lead to deterioration of health.  

The CBI court said that as “aggravating factors far outweighs the mitigating factors” the convict deserved to be dealt with “strictly while sentencing him” and pronounced four-year rigorous imprisonment. 

During the arguments, it came out that Chautala had sold off 92.25 sq mt Rohini (New Delhi) plot which was part of DA. “The disproportionate assets acquired by the convict in the present case are to the tune of Rs.2.81 Crores. Therefore, this court can confiscate the assets of the convict to the extent of disproportionate assets,” said the court after accepting a CBI plea.  

The court confiscated four properties worth Rs 2.49 crore, which included Asola Farm House over 2.905 acres in Delhi worth Rs 1.50 crore, 2,107 sq ft Hailey Road (Delhi) flat worth Rs 43.03 lakh, Gurugram flat worth Rs 50 lakh, and Panchkula plot of 846 sq mt in Mansa Devi Complex worth Rs 5.23 lakh.  

For recovery of the balance DA of Rs 32.59 lakh, the court imposed a fine of Rs 50 lakh.  

Out of four years of punishment, Chautala has to serve about 32 months as the remaining period of about 16 months has been set off as already undergone by him during the trial.

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