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Chautala granted interim bail for 21 days by Delhi high court

LiveMint logoLiveMint 03-06-2014 PTI

New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Tuesday granted three weeks’ interim bail to former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala, serving a 10-year jail term in teachers recruitment case, for carrying out post-cremation rituals of his brother who died on Sunday.

Justice Kailash Gambhir set 79-year-old Chautala free on interim bail for 21 days while asking him to furnish a personal bond of `5 lakh with two sureties of the like amount. The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader had on Monday attended the cremation of his younger brother Pratap Singh, son of late Devi Lal, at his native village in Haryana under custody of Tihar jail authorities.

“There is no dispute that the appellant’s (O.P. Chautala) younger brother (Pratap Singh Chautala) has expired. There is also no dispute that O.P. Chautala is the eldest surviving member of the Chautala family. Last rites will be performed by Jitendra Singh, eldest son of late Pratap Singh, at native Sirsa, Haryana. “As per family tradition, presence of eldest member is socially desirable while performance of last rites,” the judge said.

The high court had on Monday sought Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) response on Chautala’s plea seeking six weeks’ interim bail to attend funeral and perform other rituals of his younger brother. CBI, which was asked to file its reply on Chautala’s plea, did not oppose it but requested the judge to reduce the time period from 21 to 12 days. It also urged the court to impose conditions on Chautala so that he may not flee from justice.

The court had on Monday also asked CBI to verify what ceremonies were required to be performed by Chautala and had directed it to file a status report this afternoon. CBI had earlier opposed Chautala’s plea for six weeks interim bail saying he has already been allowed to attend the funeral in police custody and perform the last rites of his younger brother.

CBI earlier submitted that Chautala had on 30 May sought regular bail on which the high court issued notice to the agency seeking its reply by 11 July, when the plea will be heard. Senior advocate Hariharan and advocate Amit Sahni, who had appeared for Chautala, contended that this was a plea seeking interim bail as the INLD leader is the head of the family and thus, has to perform several rites associated with the funeral.

On 30 May, the high court had issued notice to CBI seeking its reply by 11 July on Chautala’s plea for regular bail citing his ill health. The court, meanwhile, had extended till 4 July the interim bail of Chautala’s MLA-son Ajay Singh Chautala, who has been sentenced along with his father in teachers’ recruitment scam.

It had also extended till 4 July the bail of INLD MLA Sher Singh Badshami and O.P. Chautala’s former Officer on Special Duty Vidya Dhar till 4 July.

The bail of all the three was extended on health grounds. The court also directed them to submit reports regarding their medical status on 4 July. It, however, had provided no relief to Sanjiv Kumar, an IAS officer who has been convicted in the case and directed his counsel to file a fresh application for availing bail.

O.P. Chautala, in his regular bail plea had contended that he is a physically disabled senior citizen having 60% permanent disability. He had contended in his plea that he is suffering from diabetes as well as chronic obstructive airway disease and is prone to both respiratory and cardiac failures.

On 22 January 2013, a special CBI court had sentenced Ajay Chautala, Om Prakash Chautala and eight others, including Vidya Dhar and Badshami, to 10 years jail term for illegally recruiting 3,206 junior teachers in the year 2000. Among other convicts in the junior basic trained teachers’ recruitment scam case, 44 have been sentenced to four years in jail and one to five-year jail term. All of them were held guilty of cheating, forgery, using fake documents as genuine, conspiracy under IPC and for abusing their official position under Prevention of Corruption Act.

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