Chautala, son convicted in scam

Former Haryana CM sent to Tihar

Chautala, son convicted in scam

Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) party supremo and former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala, his legislator son Ajay Chautala and 53 others were convicted by a Delhi court on Wednesday in a 13-year-old recruitment scam.

The father-son duo along with the other accused, including 16 women, were immediately taken into judicial custody and sent to Tihar Jail barrack number 4 in the national capital. All the convicts are likely to stay in jail until January 22 when the court pronounces the sentence.

The developments have generated political heat in the state with the INLD gearing up to meet the challenge effectively. Over 3,000 junior basic trained (JBT) teachers were recruited in Haryana between 1999 and 2000. There were widespread allegations of corruption in these appointments.

Special CBI Judge Vinod Kumar held Chautala, his son and others guilty of offences under relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA).

Sanjiv Kumar, the then Director of Primary Education, Chautala’s former Officer on Special Duty Vidya Dhar and Sher Singh Badshami, the political adviser to the then Haryana CM were also convicted. Interestingly, Sanjiv Kumar, who claimed to be the whistle-blower in the case, was also held guilty.  The court has fixed January 17, 19 and 21 for hearing the arguments on the sentence.

After the verdict, Chautala’s younger son, Abhay Chautala, denied any wrongdoing. He said no money had exchanged hands and that appointments were made on merit.

Abhay blamed Sanjiv Kumar saying the IAS officer while heading the department of primary education was involved in several scams and the state government had suspended him after they came to light. “We will study the judgment and will approach a higher court,” he added.Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said: “The law is taking its course. The violation of law results only in such things.”

Case history

The Chautala-led government had recruited 3,206 junior basic teachers during 1999-2000 and the CBI on June 6, 2008, charged the Chautalas, INLD leaders, and others with indulging in unfair practices in these appointments.

In its charge sheet, the CBI said the probe established the manner in which the second lists were made by calling chairpersons and members of the district-level selection committees of 18 districts to Haryana Bhavan here and a guest house in Chandigarh, where the modalities were worked out.

The CBI said that the father-son duo had used forged documents to appoint 3,206 teachers.

The 1985 batch IAS officer Sanjeev Kumar, a self-proclaimed whistleblower, was also convicted. Kumar had moved the apex court against Chautala. He alleged that Chautala had forced him to change the original list of selected candidates.

This list was kept under seal by his predecessor after the completion of the selection process. The CBI alleged that each teacher paid up to Rs 4 lakh and Chautala,  who was the then education minister, had issued instructions to the IAS officer for replacing the original list of the selected candidates with that with candidates prescribed by him.

Kumar had been in controversy in another case when his name was linked to a textbook
scam surfaced in 1999 in Haryana. Kumar faced seven cases against him and he was acquitted in one of the cases in April last year.

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