A Delhi court on Wednesday convicted former Haryana chief minister and Indian National Lok Dal chief Om Prakash Chautala, his MLA son Ajay Chautala, and 53 others for illegally recruiting more than 3,000 junior teachers in 2000.
Immediately after pronouncing the verdict, special CBI judge Vinod Kumar sent 78-year-old Chautala and others to Tihar jail.
The charges of cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy against them can attract a maximum seven-year jail term.
Given the large number of convicts, the court will hear the arguments on the quantum of sentence on January 17, 19 and 21 before pronouncing the punishment on January 22.A jail term of two years or more will make the father-son duo ineligible for elections under the Representation of People Act that disqualifies a convicted person from the date of conviction till six years after the sentence ends.
But the Chautalas can continue as MLAs till the disposal of their appeal, if they challenge the trial court's verdict in three months as stipulated by the Act.
Declared "the main culprit" in the recruitment scam, Chautala senior now joins the league of former BJP president Bangaru Laxman and former Himachal Pradesh CM Sukhram, who were earlier convicted of corruption.
The others convicted with the Chautalas include director of primary education Sanjiv Kumar, Chautala's former officer on special duty Vidya Dhar and political adviser to then Haryana CM Sher Singh Badshami.
While 16 of the 55 convicts are women, six of the 62 accused died during the trial.
One was discharged by the court at the time of framing charges.