Updated: May 22, 2022 10:27:44 am
A Delhi court on Saturday held former Haryana chief minister and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) supremo Om Prakash Chautala guilty in a disproportionate assets case registered against him in 2005. The quantum of punishment will be pronounced on Thursday, the court said. The verdict was pronounced by the Rouse Avenue court in Delhi. Arguments from both sides in the case concluded on May 20. Chautala was also present during the court’s proceedings on Saturday.
The central bureau of investigation (CBI), which was probing the case, had filed the chargesheet against Chautala on March 26, 2010. The agency contended that between 1993 and 2006, the seven-time MLA had amassed assets worth over Rs 6.09 crore, far exceeding his known sources of income. The Chautala family had, however, slammed the case as “political vendetta”. In 2019, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) attached his assets worth Rs 3.68 crore, including his flat and plots in New Delhi, Panchkula and Sirsa, under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
This is Chautala’s second conviction after he was pronounced guilty by the Supreme Court in 2013 in the JBT teachers’ recruitment scam and sentenced to seven years’ jail on corruption charges and 10 years on charges of criminal conspiracy.
Chautala was released from Tihar jail on July 2 last year after completing his sentence in the case. Since his release from jail, Chautala had been active and had even started touring the rural areas of Haryana in a bid to revive the INLD.
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Chautala served as the state’s chief minister four times – from July 24, 1999 to March 5, 2005; from March 22, 1991 to April 6, 1991; from July 12, 1990 to July 17, 1990; and from December 2, 1989 to May 22, 1990. After the verdict, Chautala’s counsel Harsh Kumar Sharma, said, “In this case, he can be awarded a punishment between five years and 20 years. But, we shall be pleading in the court to get the least punishment. We shall be citing grounds that he has already served a 10 year’s sentence in the JBT teachers recruitment case and is also 90 per cent physically disabled. We shall be pleading in the court that the custody period that he had already served should be included in this quantum of punishment in this disproportionate assets case. We shall be making efforts that he should not get back into custody. We shall also be appealing against this order in the higher court of law.” JJP youth leader Digvijay Chautala (Dushyant Chautala’s younger brother and Om Prakash Chautala’s grandson) said that he was “extremely pained” with today’s verdict.
“I am also hurt like all his supporters. We have always respected the verdicts of courts of law. I am sure that he will get relief in the higher court of law,” Digivijay said.
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