Om Prakash Chautala: Rise, fall, rise and downfall

National

Not named in FIR, but that didn't help

When the special CBI court included the name of O P Chautala among those to be tried in the JBT teachers recruitment scam, the former Haryana CM made a futile bid to argue that he could not be tried because he had not been named as an accused in the FIR.

IAS officer Sanjiv Kumar, another convict, too had sought to gain from the fact that he was the whistleblower in the case. The 1985-batch IAS officer was the complainant and his name, therefore, could not have been in the FIR.

Also, both Chautala and Kumar had accused the CBI of bias during the trial. But it failed to convince the court, which trashed the argument that Chautala could not be listed as an accused as his name did not figure in the FIR because the preliminary enquiry had not found anything against him.

The judgment declared the probe had been fair and without bias. It mentioned that barring Chautala, his son Ajay, Sher Singh Badghami, Vidya Dhar and Sanjiv Kumar, all the other accused alleged that they had fully cooperated with the investigating officer who they claimed had assured them that they would be made witnesses in the case.

They said they had been prosecuted despite informing the investigating officer about the pressure exerted on them during the recruitment. It did not cut much ice with the court. "My attention has been drawn to the testimonies of PW16, PW23 and PW26 which show that CBI had shown their statements u/s 161 CrPC before they entered the witness box. I disagree with this submission because truthfulness of these witnesses has purged this defect," the judge said.

"It is, therefore, argued that the accused persons in this case have been prejudiced in their defence even during the trial. I disagree with these submissions. The FIR is not an evidence; rather, it is a starting point of the investigation. It appears (the) name of Chautala was not written in the FIR because he was a respectable political leader holding the highest post in the state of Haryana and it appears that at that stage the story of Sanjiv Kumar about the involvement of (the) chief minister in the scam might have been taken by the CBI with a pinch of salt," he said.

... contd.

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