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Delhi HC notice to CBI on Ex-Haryana CM OP Chautala's plea challenging conviction, sentence

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on former Chief Minister of Haryana Om Prakash Chautala's plea challenging his conviction and four years of imprisonment in a disproportionate assets (DA) case.
Chautala is presently in Tihar Jail after a trial court of Delhi recently sentenced him to four years imprisonment in a disproportionate assets (DA) case

The Bench of Justice Yogesh Khanna on Thursday sought the response of the investigation agency CBI and listed the matter for July 25, 2022.
On May 27, 2022 the Rouse Avenue Court of Delhi ordered four years imprisonment for Om Prakash Chautala, confiscation of four of his properties, and also imposed fine of Rupees 50 lakh.

During the argument before Trial Court, Chautala's lawyer, Advocate Harsh Sharma cited medical grounds for reduced punishment and submitted that "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 for a grant of concession on the ground of ill-health and age. CBI had urged the court for maximum punishment to 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.

Special Judge (PC Act) Vikas Dhull on May 21, 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.

According to the CBI's FIR the 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.

The 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.

The 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 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 chargesheeted 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 the accused OP 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.

Om Prakash Chautala is the former Chief Minister of Haryana from the Indian National Lok Dal and son of sixth Deputy Prime Minister Chaudhary Devi Lal. (ANI)

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