Former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala, facing trial in a case of alleged illegal recruitment of over 3,000 teachers in the state, has been allowed by a Delhi court to visit Australia to attend cultural programmes.
Special CBI Judge Vinod Kumar allowed Chautala's plea to go to Australia from April 6 to April 22 to celebrate Baisakhi on a joint invitation by the Sikh Mission and the Punjab Sports and Culture Club there.
"As accused has assured that no obstruction in the trial would result on account of his foreign visit, I grant permission to Om Prakash Chautala to go abroad from April 6 to April 22," said the court, brushing aside the CBI's strong opposition.
The court, however, emphasised that after his return, he would "appear in person" for the trial.
OP Chautala, his MLA-son Ajay Chautala and 55 others including IAS officers Sanjiv Kumar and Vidya Dhar are facing trial under various provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act for the offences of cheating, forgery, fabricating documents and abuse of official position.
The court, meanwhile, also recorded the statement of prosecution witness Ram Nath Azad, a CBI official, who said none of the unsuccessful candidates had complained that any of the accused, including Chautalas, had met them for the purpose of obtaining any bribe money in order to secure appointments as junior basic teachers (JBTs).
"It is correct that during the entire investigation, no evidence either oral or otherwise suggested that either OP Chautala, Ajay Chautala or any of the accused facing trial had demanded or received any bribe money for procuring the job of JBT teachers to them," Azad said.