New Delhi: Former Haryana Chief Minister OP Chautala, convicted of illegally recruiting 3,206 teachers in the state, on Thursday pleaded with a Delhi court for leniency in sentencing citing his ill health and old age, while the CBI sought maximum punishment for all 55 convicts in the case.
The section 13(1)(d) and section 13(2) (criminal misconduct by public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act under which Chautala and his son Ajay Chautala have been convicted entails a maximum sentence of seven-year jail term and minimum of one year.
Fifty other convicts, the chairpersons and members of the district level selection committee, have been convicted under section 467 (forgery of valuable security) of the IPC, and face up to life term as punishment.
CBI prosecutors I P Vaid and A P Singh, however, sought maximum punishment for all the convicts from the court of Special CBI Judge Vinod Kumar arguing that it is a case of economic offence and against the system.
The court will pronounce the sentence on January 22.
The 78-year-old Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) chief said he is a diabetic patient, has 70 per cent disability in his right leg and is also suffering from various other ailments.
Chautala`s counsel also said he has clean antecedents as he has been the chief minister of Haryana for five times and "if he would have committed anything wrong, public would not have voted for him."
"OP Chautala and Ajay Chautala are public figures and their political career has already been demolished after being convicted and sent to Tihar Jail. So, now a lenient view should be taken towards them in sentencing," the counsel said.
The prosecutors said offences committed by the convicts was against the country`s interest and as they are public figures, a strong message should be sent to the society.
Chautala, his MLA son Ajay and 53 others including two IAS officers Vidya Dhar and Sanjiv Kumar, were convicted yesterday on corruption and other charges by a Delhi court for illegally recruiting 3,206 junior teachers 12 years back, and were sent to Tihar Jail.