A Delhi court will today pronounce its order on the quantum of jail sentence for former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala and his son Ajay Chautala, who were convicted and sent to jail last week in connection with a teacher recruitment scam.
Thousands of supporters and workers of Mr Chautala's Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) gathered outside the court in Rohini this morning ahead of the verdict. The police had to resort to lathicharge as the supporters tried to break the police barricade; there's heavy barricading outside the court and the police have blocked all roads leading to the court.
On January 16, the court found the Chautalas and 53 others, including two IAS officers Sanjiv Kumar and Mr Chautala's former Officer on Special Duty Vidya Dhar, guilty in the illegal recruitment of 3,206 junior basic trained (JBT) teachers in Haryana between 1999 and 2000. The recruitments were allegedly done in return for money.
Mr Chautala and his son have been convicted under the Prevention of Corruption Act, which carries a maximum punishment of seven years in jail.
But the former chief minister's son Abhay Singh Chautala has accused Congress of misusing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to frame his father in the scam.
The CBI, which is investigating this case, has asked for the maximum possible punishment for them, saying the crime was pre-planned and committed after deep deliberation. It also says that Mr Chautala and his son had used forged documents to appoint the teachers. The CBI had on June 6, 2008, chargesheeted the Chautalas and others in connection with the scam.
The defence lawyer has, meanwhile, argued that Mr Chautala, as five time Chief Minister, had the faith of the people and the court should consider his age and poor health, while deciding on the jail term. He said jail for even a day would be a very big punishment for Mr Chautala.
Mr Chautala is currently hospitalised at the GB Pant hospital citing health concerns. His son had moved an application in the court to be admitted in Medanta hospital.