Absconding lawmakers add to Haryana’s hall of shamehttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/absconding-lawmakers-add-to-haryanas-hall-of-shame/

Absconding lawmakers add to Haryana’s hall of shame

On-the-run Haryana MLAs,Om Prakash Jain and Zile Ram Sharma,join a dubious list of senior Haryana politicians embroiled in criminal cases

On-the-run Haryana MLAs,Om Prakash Jain and Zile Ram Sharma,join a dubious list of senior Haryana politicians embroiled in criminal cases.

Jain,a former transport minister and the Panipat MLA,and former Chief Parliamentary Secretary Zile Sharma,the Assandh MLA,are wanted in an abetment to suicide case following the death of Karnal village sarpanch Karam Singh. Jain was elected as an Independent but managed to bargain for a cabinet berth after the ruling Congress fell short of the required number of MLAs in the 2009 Assembly polls. Zile Ram,the absconding ex-CPS,was originally elected on a Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) ticket but crossed over to the Congress and was rewarded with the CPS post.

The CBI,which has booked the duo on charges of abetment to suicide,is yet to take cognisance of bribery allegations in the case. Karam Singh was found murdered after he lodged a complaint against Jain and Sharma for allegedly duping him and his relatives to the tune of Rs 12 lakh by falsely promising to provide their kin with government jobs. Both Jain and Sharma resigned following public pressure.

Another legislator facing similar charges is Independent MLA from Sirsa Gopal Goyal Kanda,who has been accused in the suicide of Geetika Sharma,who was an air-hostess with Kanda’s MDLR Airlines. Kanda too resigned after the case surfaced.

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The Haryana government seemed content with their resignation though the Opposition and the relatives of the victims in both cases accused the government of doing nothing to help investigating agencies.

Congress MLA from Naraingarh,Ram Kishan Gujjar is another legislator facing trial as an additional accused in an abetment to suicide case after a local journalist was allegedly harassed to death.

“The government is actually protecting the accused leaders because of its political compulsions,” alleged Ashok Arora,president of the INLD. The Opposition,however,is in no better state.

INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala and his MLA son Ajay Singh Chautala have been convicted by the Supreme Court in the JBT Teachers recruitment scam. They have been sentenced to ten years but both are out on bail on health grounds. Their close confidante Ladwa MLA Sher Singh Badshami,a former political adviser to Chautala during the latter’s tenure as chief minister,is languishing in jail in the same recruitment scam. Chautala continues to be the Leader of Opposition in the state.

Other state legislators under the scanner include Minister of State for Sports,Sukhbir Kataria,who is facing allegations of having benefitted from bogus votes in his constituency. Out on bail,he faces a number of criminal charges. Kataria won as an Independent and since after Congress needed all the seven Independents in wake of its dismal performance in the 2009 Assembly polls,he was inducted into the cabinet.

Congress Lok Sabha member from Kurukshetra and industrialist Naveen Jindal too is facing the heat in the Coalgate Scam. The CBI has booked Jindal for bribery and irregularities in coal block allocation.

MUKESH BHARDWAJ