NEW DELHI, INDIA: In a disproportionate assets case, a Delhi court sentenced former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala to four years in jail and a Rs 50 lakh fine on Friday.
When the Indian National Lok Dal leader failed to account for assets determined to be disproportionate to his legal sources of income by the CBI between 1993 and 2006, he was convicted on May 21 by special judge Vikas Dhull. According to the chargesheet filed on March 26, 2010, the disproportionate assets were valued at Rs 6.09 crore.
The special court who handed down the sentence on Friday also ordered the confiscation of four of Chautala’s assets.
Chautala’s attorneys had asked the court for a lower sentencing due to his physical condition. The CBI, on the other hand, advocated for the worst possible sentence. “Because the defendant in this instance is a prominent figure, a light sentence would convey the incorrect message.” He does not have a clean record. “This is his second conviction,” according to the agency.
The court observed in its decision convicting Chautala that the accused had amassed excessive assets totaling 103% of his recognised sources of income. “During the check period, the accused amassed disproportionate assets totaling 103% of his recognised sources of income.” “The accused has failed to account sufficiently for such disproportionality by showing his source of income or the manner by which he acquired assets throughout the check period,” the court stated.
Chautala was found guilty under the Prevention of Corruption Act’s Section 13 (1)(e) and 13(2).
This is Chautala’s second conviction for corruption. In 2013, the Supreme Court sentenced him to seven years in prison on corruption allegations and ten years on criminal conspiracy charges in the junior basic training (JBT) teacher recruiting scandal.
Chautala was arrested shortly after the assets verdict was announced. In response to Chautala’s sentencing, his son and MLA Abhay Chautala stated, “We will file an appeal against the court’s ruling in a higher court.”
In his request for leniency, Chautala noted his ill health, elderly age, physical impairment, and the term he served in Tihar Jail in the JBT fraud, during which he completed his Class 10 and 12 education.
Harsh Kumar Sharma, Chautala’s attorney, said that his impairment had worsened from 60% to 90% in recent years, and that he was also suffering from a lung ailment. Sharma also testified in court that Chautala could not even change his clothing on his own and required the assistance of an attendant just to walk about. The court ordered Chautala to present his certificate of physical impairment.
Sharma further requested that Chautala’s time in Tihar Jail be used as a punishment in the current case of disproportionate assets.
The CBI, on the other hand, argued that Chautala should get a “exemplary penalty” because he was the chief minister. “The penalty he receives should be exceptional.” What message will be sent to the public if MPs commit crimes? The criminal should face the worst sentence and a heavy fine. People admire you [Om Prakash Chautala]. Your [Chautala’s] choices are carried out. What will others learn from you if you commit such crimes?” According to the CBI’s attorney.