New Delhi: Former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala, his MLA son Ajay and 53 others were convicted on Wednesday by a court in New Delhi for the illegal recruitment of over 3000 junior basic trained (JBT) teachers in the state during his tenure. After the court pronounced its judgement, all the convicts were taken into judicial custody. The court has fixed January 22 for pronouncing the quantum of sentence.
Special CBI Judge Vinod Kumar held Chautala, his son and others guilty of offences under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA). Apart from the Chautalas, Sanjiv Kumar, the then Director of Primary Education, Chautala's former Officer on Special Duty Vidya Dhar and Sher Singh Badshami, political advisor to the then Haryana chief minister were convicted by the court in the case.
The court has fixed January 17, 19 and 21 for hearing the arguments on sentence. The court had framed charges against them under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery), 468 (forgery for cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document) of the IPC and and provisions of the PCA. The court had reserved its verdict in the case on December 17, 2012 after conclusion of final arguments by the CBI and the defence counsel.
Out of the initial 62 accused, six had died during the trial while one had been discharged by the court at the time of framing of charges. The court had earlier found prima facie evidence against Chautala, his son Ajay and 53 others, including IAS officers Dhar and Kumar. Kumar was made accused by the CBI after he exposed the JBT recruitment scam.
The 55 persons convicted by the court on Wednesday include 16 women. Except the accused, their counsel, prosecutors and the court staff, the judge did not allow anyone else to enter the courtroom. The relatives and family members of the accused and media persons were asked to stand behind the barricades set up outside the courtroom, as the proceedings were held amidst tight security.
The CBI had on June 6, 2008, chargesheeted the Chautalas, Indian National Lok Dal leaders, and others in connection with the scam relating to appointment of 3,206 junior basic teachers in the state during 1999-2000. In its chargesheet, the CBI had said that the probe established the manner in which the second lists were made by calling the chairpersons and members of the district-level selection committees of 18 districts to Haryana Bhawan in the national capital and a guest house in Chandigarh, where the modalities were worked out.
The CBI, in its chargesheet, had also said that the father-son duo had used forged documents to appoint 3,206 teachers. The apex court had in its order on November 25, 2003, directed the CBI to take up the investigation of the case.
(With additional information from PTI)