Haryana ex-CM O P Chautala to be freed from Tihar after Delhi govt's remission order

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New Delhi/Chandigarh, Jun 23 (PTI) Former Haryana chief minister O P Chautala, who is serving a 10-year prison term in a teacher recruitment scam case and is out on parole, will be freed from Tihar jail as the Delhi government has granted a six-month remission of sentence, officials said on Wednesday.

The 86-year-old Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) president's younger son and party leader Abhay Singh Chautala and grandson Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala expressed their happiness over the development.

The Delhi government passed an order on Monday granting a six-month special remission to those who have served nine-and-half years of their 10-year prison sentence to decongest jails in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the 86-year-old former chief minister has already served nine years and nine months of his sentence, he is eligible to get out of prison, officials said.

'Om Prakash Chautala was sentenced in 2013. He was on emergency parole since March 26, 2020, due to the Covid pandemic and was scheduled to surrender on February 21, 2021. However, his parole had been extended by the high court,' A senior Tihar jail official said.

As of February 21, he had two months and 27 days of jail time left which will now be counted as remitted. He will be formally released whenever he surrenders before the jail authority, the official said.

'The Delhi government has passed an order regarding special remission of six months to convicts who are sentenced for 10 years and have already completed nine years and six months of custody, including regular remission.

'Convicts who are sentenced for seven years or more but less than 10 years, and are left with only five months to complete the sentence will get remission of five months. Convicts who are sentenced for five years or more but less than seven years, and are left with only four months to complete the sentence, will get remission of four months,' the remission order stated.

Similarly, those sentenced to three years or more in prison but less than five years and are left with only three months and those with one year or more sentence but less than three years and are left with only two months, will get remissions of three months and two months respectively.

Reacting to the development, O P Chautala's younger son Abhay Chautala, said the Chautala family will always be grateful to the people for their 'love and prayers in times of crisis.' 'Under his (O P Chautala's) leadership, the INLD party will continue on the path shown by Chaudhary Devi Lal and fight for the peasants and weaker sections of the society,' Abhay Chautala tweeted.

When reporters in Panchkula sought Dushyant Chautala's reaction about his grandfather's imminent release from jail, the deputy chief minister said he learnt about the development through the media.

'It is a matter of happiness,' he said.

Notably, Dushyant Chautala floated the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) in 2018 when the INLD split following a feud within the Chautala family.

Dushyant's brother and senior JJP leader Digvijay Singh Chautala also expressed happiness over the development. In a statement, he said Om Prakash Chautala 'is our role model' and his struggle in life 'is an example for all of us'.

O P Chautala, his elder son Ajay Chautala, and 53 others, including IAS officer Sanjiv Kumar, were convicted and sentenced in the case of illegal recruitment of 3,206 junior basic teachers in 2000.

They all were sentenced to varying jail terms in the case by a special CBI court in January 2013.

Kumar, the then Director of Primary Education in Haryana, had initially exposed the scam after he filed a plea in the Supreme Court. Later, he was also found to be involved in the scam during a CBI probe.

Apart from the Chautalas and Kumar, Chautala's former Officer on Special Duty Vidya Dhar and political advisor to the then Haryana CM Sher Singh Badshami were also given 10-year jail terms.

The others who were given 10-year jail terms are Madan Lal Kalra, Durga Dutt Pradhan, Bani Singh, Ram Singh and Daya Saini. Apart from them, one convict was handed a five-year jail sentence and the rest 44 were given four years of imprisonment. PTI NIT SUN VSD NSD NSD

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