New Delhi: A Delhi court on Tuesday sentenced former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala to ten years in prison after he, his son Ajay Chautala and 53 others were found guilty of illegally recruiting 3,206 junior basic trained (JBT) teachers in the state in the year 2000.
The court of Judge Vinod Kumar also sentenced Ajay Chautala to 10 years in prison.
The 78-year-old Chautala senior, a five-time former chief minister, and his son 51-year-old Ajay Chautala are both sitting MLAs and could stand disqualified from contesting the Assembly Elections next year if their conviction is not stayed by a higher court.
Under the Representation of the People Act, a person convicted of any offence and sentenced to more than two years imprisonment shall be disqualified from the date of conviction and for a further period of six years after his release.
Apart from Chautalas, the other three main accused - IAS officer Sanjiv Kumar, Chautala`s former Officer on Special Duty Vidya Dhar and political adviser to the then Haryana CM Sher Singh Badshami - were also awarded 10 years in jail in the case.
Apart from the five main accused, four others, including a woman, have been awarded 10 years jail term, one has been given five years and the rest 45 given four years sentence.
Unfazed by the violence outside, the judge read out the order of sentencing as Chautala`s supporters thronged the court complex, threw stones and crude bombs, and clashed with police who resorted to lathicharge and use of tear gas in a bid to restore order.
The senior Chautala was not present in the court because of his hospitalisation after being taken into custody last week; his son and all the other convicts were present in the court.
The court had – on January 16 - pronounced them guilty of cheating, forgery, using fake documents as genuine, conspiracy under the IPC and for abusing their official position under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
78-year-old Om Prakash Chautala, the chief of Indian National Lok Dal, was held as the "main conspirator" by the court.
Reports said after the sentence was pronounced, protestors even threw stones and crude bombs into the court complex.
A large posse of para-military forces were also called in to try and control the restive crowd.
Other than the 55 accused, their counsel, prosecutors and the court staff, the judge did not allow anyone else to enter the court room during the hearing.
All the 55 convicts have been convicted and sentenced under sections 120B(criminal conspiracy) , 418(cheating), 467(forgery), 471 (using forged documents as genuine) of the IPC and sections 13 (1) (d) and 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The CBI had filed its chargesheet in a Delhi court after its probe established that a conspiracy on making second lists was hatched at Haryana Bhawan here by calling the chairpersons and members of the district-level selection committees of 18 districts.
They were also called at a guest house in Chandigarh, where the modalities were worked out, it had said.
The court had said that first IAS officer RP Chander (CBI witness), who was the then Director of Primary Education, had given a proposal for declaring the results of successful candidates in April 2000, but he was transferred on the next day itself.
Subsequently, IAS officer Rajni Shekri Sibal (CBI witness), was brought in at Chander`s place and she was asked by accused Badshami and Vidya Dhar to change the award lists in the presence of Ajay Chautala, it had said.
(With PTI inputs)