New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has directed former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala to surrender to Tihar Jail authorities here Saturday and discontinue his political rallies effective Friday.
Justice Siddharth Mridul, in an order, also asked the jail authorities to take Chautala to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here, if they consider it necessary, as he complains he has fractured his leg.
Chautala, who is also the Indian National Lok Dal chief, appeared before the court Friday after it Thursday sought his personal appearance as the Central Bureau of Investigation sought cancellation of his bail and bringing forward his surrender date, which was earlier fixed for Oct 17.
“I am pained and disappointed with Chautala’s act. Now that he is discharged from hospital, he should surrender,” the judge remarked on the conduct on Chautala, who was granted bail on medical grounds, but has been actively holding rallies to campaign for the Oct 15 assembly elections in Haryana.
Senior lawyers Ram Jethmalani and Hariharan represented Chautala in a packed court room with Chautala’s supporters, journalists, and lawyers.
Jethmalani, advancing his arguments in support of Chautala, insisted that he be permitted to surrender on Oct 17 but the court refused.
Defending the act of Chautala of holding political rallies, he said that “he was just performing his constitutional duty towards the people and there is nothing wrong in it”.
During the hearing, Chautala also personally urged the judge to let him surrender Oct 17.
But the court decided not to bargain over surrender date, because of Chautala’s conduct.
It said that it has been “very sympathetic” to Chautala because “he is an elderly gentleman and he is suffering from various ailments”.
He was first granted interim bail May 21, 2013, and has been getting extension of bail on the ground that he was admitted in the intensive care unit (ICU) of Medanta Hospital in Gurgaon due to poor health. The hospital, however, discharged him recently and since then Chautala has been campaigning.
“If he is well enough to travel, well enough to address rallies, then he is well enough to surrender,” the court said.
CBI counsel Rajdeepa Behura asked the court to direct Chautala to surrender immediately as he had abused the process of law. “The interim bail was granted for medical issues, not to hold public rallies,” Behura told court.
Chautala has been out on bail after being sentenced to 10 years in prison in the teachers’ recruitment scam case. On Sep 26, the high court cancelled the interim bail granted to Chautala on medical ground and asked him to surrender Oct 17.
A special CBI court here Jan 22, 2013 sentenced Chautala, his son Ajay Chautala and eight others to 10 years in jail, one convict to five years in jail, while 45 others were each handed out four-year jail terms after finding them guilty of illegally recruiting 3,206 junior basic trained teachers in Haryana in 2000 when Om Prakash Chautala was the chief minister.