Om Prakash Chautala to continue as party chief, contest polls: INLD

Om Prakash Chautala

INLD today announced that Om Parkash Chautala would continue to lead the party and also contest Haryana Assembly elections due in 2014, despite his conviction by a Delhi court in a case of illegal recruitment of over 3,000 junior basic trained teachers in the state.

78-year-old Chautala and his son Ajay would contest the state polls, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) state president Ashok Arora said.

Former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala, his MLA son Ajay Chautala and 53 others including two IAS officers were today convicted on corruption and other charges by a Delhi court for illegally recruiting 3,206 junior teachers 12 years ago.

"The verdict of the Delhi court is not final. The party will challenge the decision in a higher court and both will come out clean as ultimately the truth will prevail," he said, adding that there is no bar on sitting MLAs and MPs, who have been convicted, to contest elections.

Stating that the party would challenge the verdict after the quantum of sentence is announced on January 22, Arora said INLD was fully prepared to face any situation, including what he described was a vilification campaign launched against it by Congress and the Kuldeep Bishnoi-led Haryana Janhit Congress.

Arora said the scam in the selection of teachers in 1999 -- for which 53 others have been convicted along with the father-son duo -- was set in motion by the then Bansi Lal-led Haryana Vikas Party (HVP) government before Chautala took over.

"Since there was a shortage of teachers and Bansi Lal had disbanded the Subordinate Services Selection Board, the Chautala government decided to constitute District Selection Boards for recruitment of teachers, which was done in a transparent manner," Arora said.

He alleged that the CBI had always been used by Congress against "politically-strong opponents" like Jaganmohan Reddy, who had been clean as long as he was with the party in Andhra Pradesh before coming to face charges of being involved in several scams after breaking away.

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