Teachers scam: Chautala seeks suspension of sentence

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 07, 2013 14:30 hrs

New Delhi, Feb 7 (IANS) Former Haryana chief minister and Indian National Lok Dal chief Om Prakash Chautala, who was sentenced to 10 years in jail in the teachers recruitment scam, Thursday moved the Delhi High Court for suspension of sentence.

Chautala, seeking suspension of the sentence and appealing against the trial court order, said that he is "unwell and suffering from various ailments".

The 78-year-old Chautala, in his appeal, said the trial court's order is liable to be set aside as it was against the tenets of law as well as contrary to the evidence.

The trial court last month sentenced Chautala, his son Ajay Chautala, and eight others to 10 years in jail while one convict was sentenced to five years and 45 others to four years in jail.

Chautala and the other accused were found guilty of illegally recruiting 3,206 junior basic trained (JBT) teachers in Haryana in 2000.

"The trial court has failed to appreciate that in a democratic set-up and under the principles of collective responsibility, it is the entire council of ministers which is responsible for a cabinet decision and not any one minister," the plea said.

Chautala's plea added: "In such a scenario, only singling out the appellant (Chautala) merely because he is the chief minister is unwarranted and erroneous. Further, it a settled principle that in a cabinet, the chief minister is only first among equals."

The court had earlier found prima facie evidence against the Chautalas and 53 others and charged all of them June 6, 2008, for their role in the irregularities in recruitment of teachers that took place between 1999 and 2000, when Chautala was chief minister.

Chautala in his plea further said that the present case is "false, fictitious and subsumed with political overtones" and he ought not to be put to such great prejudice and hardship due to his conviction and incarceration during the pendency of the accompanying appeal, which is unlikely to be disposed of expeditiously.

The Chautalas and others were held guilty of offences under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA).

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