The Delhi High Court on Wednesday suspended the sentence of former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala till the pendency of the appeal in a disproportionate assets (DA) case. The 88-year-old was sentenced to four years imprisonment in the case by a trial court.
The Delhi HC on Monday had reserved order on a plea by Chautala seeking suspension of his 4-year sentence.
On May 27, 2022, the Rouse Avenue Court of Delhi had convicted Chautala and awarded a four-year jail term. The court also ordered to confiscate four properties of him and imposed a fine of Rs 50 lakh.
During the argument before Trial Court, OP Chautala's lawyer, Advocate Harsh Sharma had cited medical grounds for less punishment and submitted, "I (OP Chautala) have been infected with polio since birth, and I am partially disabled."
CBI's Special Public Prosecutor Ajay Gupta had opposed the submissions of Chautala's lawyer for a grant of concession on the ground of ill health and age.
CBI had urged the court for maximum punishment for Chautala shall be given as it would send a message to society.
"The person, in this case, is a public figure and giving minimum punishment would send a wrong message. He is not having clean antecedents. It is the second case in which he has been convicted," CBI said.
According to the CBI, FIR accused Om Prakash Chautala, while functioning as Chief Minister of Haryana during the period from July 24, 1999, to March 5, 2005, in collusion with his family members and others, accumulated assets, immovable and movable, disproportionate to his known lawful sources of income, in his name, in the names of his family members and others to the extent of Rs.1,467 crores.
FIR further stated that the accused accumulated enormous wealth and invested the same throughout the country in the shape of thousands of acres of land, multi complexes, palatial residential houses, hotels, farmhouses, business agencies, petrol pumps and other investments apart from investments in foreign countries.
FIR also stated that 43 immovable properties in all, apart from cash and jewellery were accumulated. Apart from 43 alleged properties listed in the FIR, additional properties were also suspected to be of the accused family.
An investigation with regard to additional properties was also conducted for ascertaining the link of the accused family with the said properties.
The charge sheet filed in the matter after the conclusion of the investigation stated that accused OP Chautala had acquired assets, both immovable and movable, which were disproportionate to his known source of income.
The disproportionate assets were calculated to be Rs 6,09,79,026 (Rupees Six Crores Nine Lacs Seventy Nine Thousand and Twenty Six only) and the percentage of DA (Disproportionate Assets) was 189.11 per cent of his known sources of income.
Accordingly, CBI had charge-sheeted the accused for the offence under Section 13(1)(e) read with 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Apart from the charge sheet filed against Chautala, the CBI had filed two more charge sheets arising out of the present FIR, against the sons of the accused i.e. Abhay Singh Chautala and Ajay Singh Chautala and others, which are being tried separately.
(With PTI inputs)