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Chautala, son jailed for 10 years in recruitment scam

 NEW DELHI, Jan 22 (IANS): A Delhi court Tuesday awarded 10 years in jail to former Haryana chief minister and Indian National Lok Dal chief Om Prakash Chautala and son Ajay Chautala in a teacher-recruitment scam.

Special CBI Judge Vinod Kumar sentenced the Chautalas and seven others to 10 years in jail while one convict was given five years in jail and 45 others four years in jail.

Of the 62 people accused in the junior basic training (JBT) teacher hiring scam, six died during the trial and one was discharged during framing of charges.

Apart from the Chautalas, Sanjiv Kumar, the then director of primary education, Chautala's former officer on special duty Vidya Dhar and his political adviser Sher Singh Badshami were also awarded the 10-year jail terms.

Madan Lal Kalra, the then district primary education officer, Durga Dutt Pradhan, the then principal of a girls' government school and Bani Saini, the then principal of a government school, were also sentenced to 10 years in jail along with Daya Saini, the then assistant director of primary education.

Shortly after the sentence was pronounced, Chautala's supporters threw stones at the court.

Chautala and his son, both legislators from Haryana, were taken into custody Jan 16 after being convicted for the illegal recruitment of over 3,000 JBT teachers in the state.

The court had earlier found prima facie evidence against the Chautalas and 53 others.

The CBI formally charged the Chautalas and the others June 6, 2008, for their role in the scam that took place between 1999 and 2000 when Chautala was Haryana chief minister.

Over 3,000 teachers were to be recruited in the state and Chautala pressurised a senior official, Sanjeev Kumar, to change the list of selected candidates by fudging the marks of certain favourites.

Later, Sanjeev Kumar went to the Supreme Court and submitted before it the list of the candidates originally selected.

The official also alleged that money had changed hands in the recruitment.

The Supreme Court directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate the matter, especially the bribery charges.

The agency, in its chargesheet, said forged documents were used to appoint the teachers.

Sanjeev Kumar was also made accused by the CBI after he exposed the scam.

Although Chautala claimed he had been politically victimised, the Rohini court here convicted him.

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

The court framed charges against them under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery), 468 (forgery for cheating) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document) of the IPC and provisions of the PCA.

Chautala, the son of former deputy prime minister Devi Lal, is leader of opposition in the Haryana assembly. He was chief minister from 1999 to 2005. His second son, Abhey Singh Chautala, is also a legislator.

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