Former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala, sentenced to 10 years in jail for the Haryana teachers’ recruitment scam, failed to get relief from the Delhi high court which on Friday rejected his plea for interim bail.
The 78-year-old Indian National Lok Dal chief had also sought the immediate suspension of his jail term on the grounds that he was “unwell and was suffering from various ailments”.
Justice Mukta Gupta, however, issued notice to the CBI on his regular bail application and plea for suspension of the sentence, seeking a reply by April 4. The judge also summoned Chautala’s medical records from Tihar jail authorities.
Chautala, his MLA son Ajay Chautala and 53 others, including two IAS officers, were convicted on January 16 by a trial court for illegally recruiting 3,206 junior basic trained (JBT) teachers in Haryana in 2000.
All of them were sentenced on January 23.
Chautala senior, held as the “main conspirator” of the scam, was found guilty of cheating, forgery, using fake documents as genuine and conspiracy under the IPC and for abusing his official position under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Appearing for Chautala, senior advocate Gopal Subramanium submitted that “due to old age, he (Chautala) is suffering from various ailments, requiring medical attention. He is not in the best of his condition and the documents have already been produced before the court.”
Subramanium said, it is a case of “no evidence” and the trial court findings were based on the testimony of IAS officer Sanjiv Kumar, who was also sentenced to 10 years in jail in the case, and not on the basis of investigation and evidence.
He said as Chautala was the leader of Opposition in the Haryana Assembly, his presence was required in its budget session which will commence from February 22. To this submission, the court asked: “Can’t other members represent the party in the House?”
The court declined to fix an early date to hear his plea saying: “I have no record to go through before passing any order. If there is some urgency, you can very well come and approach the court.”
Opposing Chautala’s plea, CBI counsel Rajdeepa Behura submitted, “He has already been discharged from hospital and his bail is not required at this stage.”