HC upholds 10-yr jail term for Chautala

HC upholds 10-yr jail term for Chautala

Former Haryana chief minister O P Chautala and four others, including his son Ajay, on Thursday failed to get any relief from the Delhi High Court which upheld their conviction and 10-year jail term in the teachers’ recruitment scam case.

The court said there was an “overwhelming evidence” which showed the “shocking and spine-chilling” state of affairs in the country. The court, however, modified the trial court order on the quantum of sentence for 50 other convicts by reducing the jail term to two years.

Giving no relief to the 80-year-old INLD chief, who is already serving his jail term, the court directed his son Ajay and a few others to surrender on Thursday before the prison authorities to serve their remaining sentence.

“The facts of the present case as unfurled by the overwhelming evidence led by the prosecution at trial reveal a shocking and spine-chilling state of affairs prevalent in our country,” observed Justice Siddharth Mridul, in his 400-page verdict.

The bench, while upholding the lower court order of 10 years for Chautala and four others, including ‘whistle blower’ IAS officer Sanjiv Kumar, said “an ingenious employment scam spanning across 18 districts of the state of Haryana was given effect to by persons at the helm of power and the entire bureaucratic machinery fell prey to its satanic influence.”

Before pronouncing the verdict in a packed courtroom, the judge said: “So, this is the end of the road. I can tell you that all the appeals have been dismissed.”

Besides Chautalas and Sanjiv Kumar, the then director of Primary Education, 10-year jail term was confirmed in the case of IAS officer Vidya Dhar, then officer on special duty (OSD) of the chief minister, and Sher Singh Badshami, then MLA and political adviser to Chautala senior.

No leniency

The bench rejected the plea that leniency be shown to the INLD chief as he is old and ailing. “It may be argued that A-4 (Chautala) being an aged person, towards the tail end of his political career should be shown some mercy. It is for this very reason that I do not agree with this submission. The man was the chief minister of Haryana, capable of much hope and an inspiration to the youth of the state.

“Cheating them of their future deserves punishment of the highest kind. The appellant committee members also are all mostly senior citizens, respectable teachers either retired from government service or nearing retirement. A-4 has played a role in sharing their guilt as well.”

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