New Delhi: A Delhi court yesterday handed down 10 years in jail to former Haryana chief minister and Indian National Lok Dal chief Om Prakash Chautala (pictured), and his son Ajay Chautala in a teacher-recruitment scam.
Special CBI Judge Vinod Kumar sentenced the Chautalas and eight others to 10 years in jail, while one convict was sentenced to five years and 45 others four years. Of the 62 people accused in the junior basic training (JBT) teacher hiring scam, six died during the trial and one was discharged during framing of charges.
Besides the Chautalas, Sanjiv Kumar, the then director of primary education, Chautala’s former officer on special duty Vidya Dhar and his political adviser Sher Singh Badshami were also handed down the 10-year jail terms.
Madan Lal Kalra, the then district primary education officer, Durga Dutt Pradhan, the then principal of a girls’ government school, Ram Singh, the then deputy district education officer, and Bani Saini, the then principal of a government school, were also among those sentenced to 10 years in jail along with Daya Saini, the then assistant director of primary education.
Shortly after the sentence was pronounced, Chautala’s supporters threw stones at the court complex. The judge refused to take a lenient approach while awarding the sentence as pleaded by the accused on health grounds.
“Considering the enormity of the offences and the manner in which politician-bureaucrat nexus has resulted in depriving such a large number of candidates of their constitutional rights, I do not find any reason for leniency in sentencing those convicts who were masterminding the entire conspiracy or assisting them in execution of the same,” the court said.
It also refused to take a lenient view of Sanjiv Kumar, the whistle-blower who was later found involved in the scam, awarding him a 10-year sentence too, on parity with other convicts.
However, the court noted that “these convicts had been truthful during the trial”.
“They were aware they had committed a serious mistake in their life, but their conscience did not permit them to speak falsehood before the court, their moral values like guiding lamp for them.”
“During the entire trial, they were truthful and courageous despite the fact that they knew that by being truthful, they were inviting their conviction which may entail a long term.”