Former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala has beaten the competition to emerge a topper in his own right at the age of 82 and scored the first division in the Class 12 board examination conducted by the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS).
Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) supremo Chautala is behind bars after his conviction in the teachers’ recruitment scam during his tenure as the chief minister and took the exam at Delhi’s Tihar Jail last month.
“He secured an A grade or first division last week,” his younger son and INLD Ellenabad MLA Abhay Chautala said.
“When my father was in school, my grandfather and former deputy prime minister Devi Lal was in jail fighting for farmers’ rights. Since my father was the eldest in the family, he had to drop out and take on the family’s responsibility. He encouraged other members to study,” Abhay added.
Abhay said his father was out on parole for the wedding of his grandson Dushyant Chautala, the Hisar MP, a month ago, but chose to return to the jail, where the exam centre was set up on April 23 so that he could write the papers.
The former CM is now looking forward to pursuing college. “He is focused and goes to the jail library daily. His favourite books are on politics. He wants to use the jail term meaningfully,” Abhay said.
The NIOS, formerly known as the National Open School, was set up in 1989 as an autonomous organisation under the Union human resource development ministry.
Om Prakash was charged with corruption in the recruitment scam involving 3206 basic trained teachers in Haryana in 2000. He was convicted by a trial court in 2013 and 2 years later it was upheld by the Supreme Court.
His elder son, Ajay Chautala, is also lodged in the Tihar Jail for his role in the scam.