No bail yet for Chautala in teacher recruitment scam

The Delhi High Court today turned down the bail appeal of Om Prakash Chautala, head of the Indian National Lok Dal and former Haryana chief minister, in what has become known as the teachers recruitment scam.

Chautala had sought interim bail on medical grounds. But the high court denied bail and instead set the next hearing for 4 April. It has given the Central Bureau of Investigation up to that date to file a reply to the petition.

Chautala, his MLA son Ajay Chautala, and 53 others, including two Indian Administrative Services officers, were convicted on inJanuary by the trial court for illegally recruiting 3,206 junior basic trained (JBT) teachers in Haryana in 2000 (See: Teaching scam: ex-CM Chautala, son given 10-year jail term).

The senior Chautala, was held as the "main conspirator" in the scam by the court, which found him guilty of cheating, forgery, using fake documents as genuine and conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code and for abusing his official position under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Apart from the Chautalas, the then director of primary education Sanjiv Kumar, Chautala's former officer on special duty Vidya Dhar, both IAS officers, and the former chief minister's political advisor Sher Singh Badshami were awarded 10-year jail terms.

The other five who have been awarded 10 years jail terms are Madan Lal Kalra, Durga Dutt Pradhan, Bani Singh, Ram Singh and Daya Saini.

Apart from them, one convict has been handed five years and the remaining 44 were given four years' imprisonment. Among the 55 convicts, 16 were women officials.

In his bail plea, Chautala had sought suspension of sentencing on health grounds, saying that he is 70 per cent disabled and requires constant supervision. But the court has denied him any immediate relief.