New Delhi: Former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala, his MLA-son Ajay Chautala and 53 others were convicted on Wednesday by a Delhi court for the illegal recruitment of over 3000 junior basic trained (JBT) teachers in the state.
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 adviser to the then Haryana CM 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.
Reacting to conviction of Om Prakash Chautala, his son Ajay and 53 others in the case involving illegal recruitment of junior basic teachers in the state, Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said "the law is taking its course."
"The law is taking its course. The violation of law results only in such things," said Hooda.
Om Prakash Chautala's younger son Abhay Chautala denied that his father and brother committed any illegality in recruitment of junior basic teachers in the state saying there was "nothing related to corruption" in the matter.
"The matter is not related to corruption. No money had exchanged hands in the issue. We had appointed teachers on the merit," Abhay told the media after the court pronounced its judgement, convicting his father, brother and 53 others in the case.
He added he would go through the judgement to see what kind of "negligence" has been attributed to them.
While denying the involvement of his family members in the case, Abhay laid the blame on Sanjiv Kumar saying the IAS officer while heading the department of primary education was involved in several scams and the state government had suspended him after they came to light.
In order to save himself, Kumar went to the Supreme Court and told it that he was pressurised by Om Prakash Chautala, said Abhay adding that his (Kumar's) allegations, however, has not been proved in the court.
He said the recruitment to the posts of JBT were opened by the government preceding that of the Chautalas and that all formalities were done by previous government.
Making it clear that the Chautalas will file an appeal against the verdict convicting them, Abhay said "we will study the judgement and will approach a higher court."
Haryana Janhit Congress president Kuldeep Bishnoi said "the corrupt deeds" of Chautala has finally caught up with him and described the INLD supremo's conviction by the court as the "beginning of the end" for his party.
"Sooner or later he had to go to jail for his corrupt deeds. The only question was when. I salute the Delhi court for its verdict, I believe it is a milestone decision," Hisar MP Bishnoi said over the telephone.