How conviction in JBT recruitment scam ended OP Chautala's political career

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On January 22, 2014 the trial court convicted and sentenced Chautala and nine others to ten years jail-term for illegally recruiting 3,206 junior teachers.
A day after former Haryana chief minister and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) supremo Om Prakash Chautala vowed that he will take oath as chief minister from Tihar jail, the Delhi High Court has asked him to surrender on or before October 17.

When JBT scam took place?

  • Soon after Chautala became the CM in July 1999 he took over the additional charge as education minister and conspiracy began under his leadership.

  • The CBI contended before the Delhi High Court that OP Chautala was the "main conspirator" in the JBT scam case. 

How did this scam come to light?

  • Former Haryana director of primary education Sanjeev Kumar, a 1989 batch IAS officer, was the whistleblower of this scam.
  • Kumar had filed a writ in the Supreme Court and alleging that the Chautala Government had resorted to corrupt practices while recruiting 3208 junior teachers in 2000.
  • He even accused Chautala of pressurising him to change the original list of over 2,000 selected candidates for the appointment.
  • While Chautala had accused Kumar of himself indulging in "corrupt" practices and that it was he who had changed the original list.

CBI's findings in the case?

  • The CBI had claimed that each teacher had paid a bribe of Rs three to four lakh and said that Chautala, the then education minister, gave written instructions to Kumar, demanding that the original list of candidates to be selected be replaced with a second one.
  • On June 6, 2008, CBI filed its charge sheet against the Chautalas, Indian National Lok Dal leaders, and others in connection with JBT scam. 

What was court's ruling?

  • Chautala and 54 others, including his son Ajay and two IAS officers, were convicted by a CBI court in Delhi last year. 
  • On January 22, 2014 the trial court convicted and sentenced Chautala and nine others to ten years jail-term for illegally recruiting 3,206 junior teachers. 

Why he is out of jail?

  • The 78-year-old INLD chief and son of former deputy PM Devi Lal is currently out of prison on bail on health grounds. 

What did Chautala say at the Jind rally?

  • Chautala blamed Congress government in Haryana for sending him to prison to crush his party's struggle. 
  • Exuding confidence that INLD had been strengthened in his absence, he said, "I will take oath as CM from Tihar jail." 
  • Chautala appeared for the first time in a public meeting after his conviction in the JBT scandal in February last year, in the rally. 

Why Chautala cannot become CM?

  • Chautala can no more become a chief minister since it is not constitutionally possible. 
  • The People's Representation Act of the Constitution abides convicted persons from contesting polls and becoming an MP or MLA.

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