7 July 2022 6:26 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notice on the plea moved by Former Chief Minister of Haryana, Om Prakash Chautala, challenging a Trial Court order which had convicted and sentenced him to 4 years imprisonment in connection with a disproportionate assets case.Justice Yogesh Khanna also called for nominal roll from the jail authorities while posting the matter for further hearing on...
The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notice on the plea moved by Former Chief Minister of Haryana, Om Prakash Chautala, challenging a Trial Court order which had convicted and sentenced him to 4 years imprisonment in connection with a disproportionate assets case.
Justice Yogesh Khanna also called for nominal roll from the jail authorities while posting the matter for further hearing on July 25.
On the aspect of suspension of sentence, the Counsel appearing on behalf of Chautala argued that while he has been convicted for a period of four years, he had already undergone five years and six months in jail.
He argued that Chautala's further incarceration is in violation of the settled judicial decisions of the Apex Court. Accordingly, it was requested that nominal roll from jail be called by the Court.
On May 27 this year, Special Judge (PC Act) Vikas Dhull had convicted Chautala for the offence under Section 13(1)(e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
While doing so, the Court had observed that the maxim 'power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely' can be applied to Chautala's case.
The case in brief
CBI had filed a disproportionate assets case against him in the year 2005, and a charge sheet was filed in 2010 wherein the CBI had allegedly detected assets amassed by him between 1993 and 2006 that were disproportionate to his legitimate sources of income
The FIR in the case accused Chautala of accumulating assets, disproportionate to his known lawful sources of income (in his name and in the names of his family members) as a CM of Haryana during the period from July 24, 1999, to March 5, 2005, in collusion with his family members and others.
It was claimed that he had 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, etc.
In this very case, Chautala was convicted by the CBI Court as he failed to satisfactorily account for the assets detected by the CBI. The value of disproportionate assets so acquired came out to be Rs. 2.18 crore.
Trial Court's observations
The Court had noted that there has been a rise in cases where misuse of official positions is done by public servants to acquire assets.
The Court had observed that it is one of the factors which weighs against leniency in sentencing him so that a strong message is sent to the potential offenders that in case, they acquire assets abusing their official positions, then not only they will be punished heavily but even their properties so acquired shall be liable for confiscation.
Though the CBI sought maximum punishment of 7 years and fine, however, having regard to Chautala's age, disability and the various ailments from which he is suffering, the court opined that 04 Years Rigorous Imprisonment would be just and reasonable to meet the ends of justice.
Further, exercising its powers of this court to confiscate the properties of convict under Section 452 Cr.P.C. with regard to offence of disproportionate assets under the PC Act, 1988, the court had ordered to confiscate assets worth Rs. 2,48,59,363.06 (out of the total disproportionate assets of Rs.2.81 Crores).
Lastly, exercising its power under Section 16 of the PC Act, 1988 and having regard to the balance DA to the tune of Rs.32,59,087.94p., the Court also imposed a fine of Rupees Fifty Lacs upon him.
"Out of the said fine, Rs.5 Lacs shall be given to the CBI in defraying the expenses incurred in the prosecution / investigation. In the event of default in the payment of fine, convict shall further undergo Simple Imprisonment of 06 months," the Court had added.
Appearance: Om Prakash Chautala represented by Mr. Sudhir Nandrajog, Sr. Advocate, Mr. Harsh K. Sharma, Advocate along with Ms. Vaibhavi Sharma, Mr. Lakshya Parasher and Ms. Bhumika Yadav, Advocates