Om Prakash Chautala gets 4-year sentence, to be Tihar’s oldest prisoner

The Court ordered to confiscate four properties of him. Special Judge Vikas Dhull on Friday sentenced four years imprisonment to Om Prakash Chautala and ordered immediately to send him to the custody of Tihar Jail.

As per the prison records, Chautala is one of seven prisoners above the age of 80. There are another 63 between ages 70 and 80. Until Chautala’s sentencing on Friday, an 85-year-old convicted of murder was the oldest in the prison, the Hindustan Times reported.

Because of his old age and health, Chautala, like other prisoners over the age of 70 will also be entitled to a bed. Prisoners of advanced age are also not assigned any work in the jail’s factories. “Usually, on the doctor’s advice, we allow beds for elderly prisoners. In his (Chautala’s) case too, a bed will be given. The bed is from the jail factory. Apart from this, we also ensure that elderly prisoners have someone to take care of them inside. Prisoners with good conduct who wish to help the elderly are assigned such jobs. This is a voluntarily task assigned by the jail superintendent,” said a mid-level prison officer who asked not to be named.

Meanwhile, as per the order passed by the court, out of 50 lakh fine amount of 5 lakh would be given to the CBI from that. The court also refused to grant 10 days’ time to surrender to Chautala as requested by his lawyer Harsh Sharma.

On Thursday, after concluding the arguments both sides said the order of sentences will be passed today. During the argument on Thursday, OP Chautala physically appeared and remained present in the courtroom.

Appearing for OP Chautala, Advocate Harsh Sharma cited medical grounds for less punishment and submitted that Chautala had been afflicted with polio since birth, and was partially disabled.

Chautala is accused of acquiring disproportionate assets from 1993-to 2006. This time is more than 20 years. In the meantime, he has always cooperated in the investigation, Advocate Sharma argued.

CBI’s Special Public Prosecutor Ajay Gupta 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 shall be given as it would send a message to the 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.

Special Judge (PC Act) Vikas Dhull last week had convicted Chautala and said the accused had failed to satisfactorily account for such dis-proportionality by proving his source of income or means by way of which, he acquired assets during this period.

“Hence, accused Om Prakash Chautala is convicted for the offence under Section 13(1)(e) read with 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. Put up 26.05.2022 at 10.00 a.m. for arguments on the point of sentence,” said the court.

According to the CBI’s FIR, 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 crore.

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 chargesheet 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 6,09,79,026 (Rupees Six Crore Nine Lakh 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 chargesheeted the accused for the offence under Section 13(1)(e) read with 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

(With inputs from agencies)

 

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