Chautala, son get 10-year jail
Supporters turn violent outside court premises
Former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala and his son Ajay were on Tuesday sentenced to ten years of rigorous imprisonment by Rohini court in outer Delhi for irregularities in appointment of over 3,000 junior basic trained (JBT) teachers in Haryana in 1999-2000.
Special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Judge Vinod Kumar sentenced the Chautalas and eight others to 10 years in jail, while 45 former officials of Haryana’s education department were awarded four to five years jail.
Before the court order, Chautala’s supporters clashed with police outside the court over being prevented from entering its premises. According to the police, about 1,000 men and women were part of the protest.
At about 11 am, the police were forced to use batons and fire tear-gas shells to disperse the angry supporters. Roads leading to the court were also blocked due to the violent protests.
According to sources, sentencing was delayed as the lawyers connected with the case were unable to reach the court. Immediately after the court order, the police increased security outside the court complex and the Delhi residence of Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. Hooda appealed to the protesters to maintain peace.
“Have faith in the judiciary. I want to appeal to the people to maintain peace. Investigation into the case began during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime,” he said.
Chautala, son of former deputy prime minister Chaudhari Devi Lal, is the leader of opposition in the Haryana Assembly. He was Haryana chief minister from December 1989 to May 1990, from July 1990 to July 1990, again from March 1991 to April 1991 and finally from July 1999 to March 2005.
He has also been part of the National Democratic Alliance and the United National Progressive Alliance at the national level. Ajay was a former member of the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha.
The CBI had registered a preliminary inquiry on the directions of the Supreme Court in 2003, and on the basis of the findings, a case was registered in 2004.
The case was against Chautala, then officer on special duty to Chautala, Vidya Dhar, his political advisor Sher Singh Badshami, then chairpersons and members of the district level selection committees, among others.
The committees were constituted for posts of JBT teachers in Ambala, Bhiwani, Faridabad, Fatehabad, Gurgaon, Jhajjar, Jind, Karnal, Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Mahindergarh, Panchkula, Panipat, Rohtak, Rewari, Sirsa, Sonepat and Yamunanagar in 1999-2000.
Investigation by the CBI established that appointments of 3,032 teachers were made on the basis a fraudulently prepared second set of interview lists prepared at the behest of Chautala, his son Ajay, and others. Original set of list of interview marks of the candidates on basis of which appointments ought to have been made were also revealed during investigation.
After thorough investigation, the CBI filed a chargesheet in 2008 against Chautala, Ajay, former Haryana chief minister’s OSD, political advisor, then director of Haryana primary education Sanjiv Kumar, and 57 others than the state officials.
Cognisance on the chargesheet was taken in 2008 and charges were framed in 2011 against 61 people by the special judge. One retired official of Haryana education department was discharged.
Defence evidence concluded in August 2012 and final arguments concluded in December 2012. During trial, six accused people, all retired officials of state’s education department passed away.