New Delhi: Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) chief Om Prakash Chautala today appeared in a Delhi court in connection with a disproportionate assets (DA) case and sought exemption from appearance which was opposed by CBI.
79-year-old Chautala turned up before Special CBI Judge Manu Rai Sethi in pursuance to his direction to remain present in court in person today.
The INLD chief had moved the application yesterday seeking permission to participate in the ongoing Haryana election campaign.
However, special public prosecutor Ajay Kumar Gupta opposed Chautala’s plea saying he should not be allowed exemption from personal appearance as he is deliberately not attending the court proceedings.
The CBI also said that from last many occasions he is taking exemption on grounds either related to health or some other pretext.
The agency also said that Chautala could not be given exemption to attend rallies as the court, while granting regular bail, had asked him to appear regularly during the trial.
Meanwhile, CBI today moved an application seeking service of “court notice” issued by the Delhi high court upon the accused, as he is deliberately ignoring it.
The court recorded evidence in the DA case.
Gupta also submitted that the court notice was issued to Chautala in junior basic trained (JBT) teachers recruitment scam case yesterday, directing him to appear before it today at 10.30 am.
Allowing the CBI’s contention, the court served the notice issued by the high court to Chautala, who assured his presence there.
Chautala was sentenced to 10-year imprisonment by a Delhi court on January 22, 2013 for illegally recruiting 3,206 JBT teachers in the state in 2000.
“Without going into the controversy being raised by the applicant (CBI), as the accused appearing before this court, as well as his counsel is not opposing the service of the high court notice before this court.
“Let the notice be served upon Chautala who has informed that he has to appear before Delhi high court, in respect of his appeal pending there at 2.15 pm,” the court said.
The judge also noted in his order that notice has been duly served upon the accused (Chautala) at 11.10 am. The matter before this court now stands adjourned for October 30.
The judge further said, in case the accused surrenders in respect of the pending appeal in high court, counsel for the accused will inform this court before October 20, so that production warrant can be issued for Chautala’s presence in the case pending before this court.
During the brief hearing, Chautala’s counsel said they have no objection to receive notice before this court as his client has not avoided the summons.
Yesterday, a Delhi court had asked Chautala to appear before it in DA case in which he is an accused, after the CBI informed the court that the leader is deliberately avoiding the court proceedings and is campaigning for Haryana assembly polls.
The CBI had registered three separate disproportionate assets cases against Chautala and his two sons Ajay and Abhay, on a complaint by Haryana Congress leader Shamsher Singh Surjewala.
The CBI had on March 26, 2010 chargesheeted Chautala indicting him for allegedly possessing assets worth Rs 6.09 crore, far exceeding his legal income between 1993 and 2006.
Two such separate cases are also going on against Ajay and Abhay Chautala.
Earlier, all the three cases were being heard in different courts and were transferred to one court on CBI’s plea that all cases be transferred before a single judge as their trials at three different courts will lead to inordinate delay in concluding them.
In its charge sheet, the CBI had alleged that Chautala’s wealth was 189 per cent more than his income of Rs 3.22 crore during the period.
The CBI had also said that Ajay was possessing assets exceeding his legal income by 339.27 percent. His legal income between May 1993 and May 2006 was Rs 8.17 crore. However, he acquired assets worth Rs 27.7 crore, CBI alleged.
Abhay owned assets worth over five times his income of Rs 22.89 crore as per income tax records during the 2000-2005 period. The agency claimed to have found Rs 119.69 crore worth of assets.