FORMER HARYANA Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, who is serving a 10-year jail term after being convicted in the teachers’ recruitment scam, has passed his higher secondary examination (“first division”) at the age of 82 years. He is now planning to pursue an undergraduate course.
Chautala appeared for the Class XII exam conducted by the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) at the centre set up for prisoners at Tihar Jail, where he is lodged.
Confirming this, Chautala’s younger son, Abhay Singh Chautala, who is also Leader of Opposition in Haryana Assembly, said, “The last exam was held on April 23. He was out on parole during that time, but since the examination centre was inside the jail premises, he went back to jail and sat for the exam.”
Chautala was out on parole in the second half of April to attend the wedding of his grandson, Dushyant Singh Chautala. His parole ended on May 5.
According to Abhay Singh, Chautala secured “A grade” (first division) in the results which were announced recently. “He decided to utilise his jail term more meaningfully. Now, he goes to the jail library daily, where he reads newspapers and books. He asks the jail staff to arrange for his favourite books. He reads books about great politicians across the world. Sometime, he asks us to send course books also,” he said.
“Despite all odds, he has pursued his studies,” said Chautala’s close associate and retired IAS officer R S Chaudhary.
Charged with corruption in the recruitment of 3,206 junior basic trained teachers in Haryana in 2000, Chautala, his son Ajay Chautala, and 53 others were convicted by a trial court in 2013. The conviction was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2015.
The NIOS, formerly known as National Open School (NOS), was established in 1989 as an autonomous organisation under the HRD Ministry. According to its official website, NIOS provides a number of vocational, life enrichment and community-oriented courses, apart from general and academic courses at the secondary and senior secondary level.