JBT scam: SC upholds jail term of O P Chautala, his son Ajay

New Delhi: Former Haryana Chief Minister and INLD leader O P Chautala and his son Ajay Singh Chautala today failed to get any relief from the Supreme Court which rejected their appeals against the Delhi High Court verdict upholding their conviction and 10-year jail term in the teachers' recruitment scam case.

"We are not inclined to entertain any of these appeals and they are dismissed," a bench of Justices F M I Kalifulla and Shiva Kirti Singh said.

The bench, which did not even issue notice to the CBI on the plea of 80-year-old Chautala and others, rejected their criminal appeals saying that the High Court verdict was "reasoned" one.

Senior lawyers including Harish Salve, L Nageswara Rao, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Vikas Singh were representing various convicts in the case.

Salve, appearing for the former Chief Minister, alleged that the trial court and the High Court erred in arriving at the conclusion to hold Chautala guilty of the offence. The Chief Minister, in the criminal law, cannot be held "vicariously" liable for the offence committed by others, he said.

Referring to the sequence of events in the case, he said that so called whistle blower IAS officer, who had first moved the court alleging pressure from the Chief Minister was later "rightly" declared a "crook" by the CBI.

No case was made out against Chautala, he added.

After hearing Salve for almost an hour, the bench dismissed the plea. Other senior lawyers also tried to reason out with the bench that their cases were on different footing. However, the bench did not agree with the submission and dismissed eleven other petitions including the one filed by Ajay Chautala.

The court, however, said that the convicts may move the high court with their pleas seeking relief like parole on health ground.

Chautala, his son and three others are serving 10-year jail term in the case.

The high court had on March 5 upheld the jail term awarded to Chautala, his son Ajay and three others, saying, "The overwhelming evidence showed the shocking and spine-chilling state of affairs in the country."

The father-son duo and 53 others, including two IAS officers, were convicted on January 16, 2013 by the trial court for illegally recruiting 3,206 junior basic trained (JBT) teachers in Haryana in 2000.

Besides Chautalas and whistleblower IAS officer Sanjiv Kumar, the then Director of Primary Education, the high court had also awarded 10-year prison term to IAS officer Vidya Dhar, then Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to the Chief Minister, and Sher Singh Badshami, then MLA and political adviser to Chautala senior.

All the 55 convicts have been sentenced under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 418 (cheating), 467 (forgery), 471 (using forged documents as genuine) of IPC and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The high court had modified the trial court's order on the quantum of sentence and awarded two-year jail term to 50 other convicts.

Initially, there were 62 accused in the case. While two died before filing of the charge sheet, four died during the trial of the case and one was discharged by the trial court.

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