Worth Rs 1400 cr now, Chautala once smuggled watches

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New Delhi, Jan 22: For a man who was caught smuggling watches, the current wealth is estimated to be about Rs 1400 crore with about 80 properties around the country. Om Prakash Chautala and elder son Ajay, sentenced today in teachers' scam, has been brazen in whatever he does and not earthy like his father Devi Lal.

He inherited Haryana Chief Minister's post in Dec 1989. But his bid to become a member of the legislative assembly resulted in countermanding of byelections in Meham, twice. First time because of allegations of booth capturing by Chautala and later because of the death of Independent candidate Amir Singh. Incidentally, in 1996, a commission of inquiry indicted Chautala as an accessory to the killing of Amir Singh.

Chautala has been Haryana Chief Minister for varying periods ranging from five days to five years due to charges of corruption and other serious issues.

Om Prakash Chautala

CBI pegs the family's combined income at Rs 1,467 crore. Its chargesheet lists 80 properties owned by the Chautala across the country.

Apart from the teachers' recruitment scam, Chautala's name figures in the case regarding recruitment in state civil services. This matter is pending in Supreme Court.

What is teachers recruitment or junior basic trained (JBT) teachers scam?

According to the CBI in the appointment of 3,206 junior basic teachers in the state during 1999-2000, each teacher had paid a bribe of Rs three to four lakh. The agency said that Chautala, who was the education minister at the time of the scam, had given written instructions to IAS official Sanjiv Kumar, demanding that the original list of selection be replaced with a second one.

On Jun 6, 2008, the CBI had filed its chargesheet against the Chautalas and others. In its chargesheet, the CBI had said that the second lists were made by calling the chairpersons and members of the district-level selection committees of 18 districts to Haryana Bhawan in Delhi and a guest house in Chandigarh, where the modalities were worked out. The CBI, in its chargesheet, had also said that the father-son duo had used forged documents to appoint the teachers.

Apart from the Chautalas, IAS official Sanjiv Kumar, who blew the lid in the JBT recruitment scam, Chautala's former Officer on Special Duty Vidya Dhar and Sher Singh Badshami, political advisor to the then Haryana CM were convicted by the court in the case.

Chautala bid to wriggle out

When the special CBI court included Chautala among those to be tried in the JBT scam, he argued that he could not be tried because he had not been named as an accused in the FIR.

Even Sanjiv Kumar had sought to gain from the fact that he was the whistleblower in the case. The 1985-batch IAS officer was the complainant and his name, therefore, could not have been in the FIR.

But the judge disagreed with these submissions and ruled that "the FIR is not an evidence; rather, it is a starting point of the investigation."

"However, further investigation revealed the involvement of Chautala to be true. Similarly, Sanjiv Kumar was petitioner in his writ and has presented himself to be a victim and had called himself a whistleblower," the judgment said, adding that this appears to be the reason for him not being named as an accused.

Nov 2003: CBI probe ordered.

May 2004: CBI opens case against Chautala, son Ajay and officials.

Jun 2008: CBI chargesheet in a special court.

Jan 2013: Chautala, Ajay and others convicted by Delhi CBI court.

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