New Delhi [India]: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday suspended the sentence of former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala till the pendency of the appeal in a disproportionate assets (DA) case. Chautala recently had moved an appeal challenging the trial court order which had sentenced him to four years of imprisonment.
Justice Yogesh Khanna on Wednesday released the order copy stated that “considering the age of the appellant being 88 years and that in any case, admittedly, he has spent about one year and six months in custody as per nominal roll dated July 21, 2022, and further that in any case, he remained in custody even after his bail bonds were accepted in the present matter”. “Thus as the appeal may take some time to come on board for hearing, hence keeping the question of benefit under Section 428 Cr.P.C. to be decided along with the appeal, the sentence of the appellant/applicant is suspended till the pendency of the present appeal”, said the Court
On Monday, the court had kept the order reserved and said will the appropriate order. Senior Advocate N Hariharan and Senior Advocate Sunil Dalal appeared for the OP Chautala on Monday. Advocate Anupam Sharma appeared for CBI in the case and opposed the suspension of sentence plea moved by OP Chautala.
Earlier OP Chautala had filed a writ petition before Delhi High Court through Advocate Amit Sahni submitting that his custody is already over and that his further custody is unlawful. Division Bench of Delhi High Court had directed the counsel of Chautala to file additional documents before the Single Bench, where his appeal is pending adjudication.
On May 27, 2022, the Rouse Avenue Court of Delhi ordered four years imprisonment to Om Prakash Chautala, also ordered to confiscate 4 properties of him and also imposed a fine of Rupees 50 lakh.
According to the CBI’s FIR 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.
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.
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 accused OP 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 a former Chief Minister of Haryana from the Indian National Lok Dal and son of sixth Deputy Prime Minister Chaudhary Devi Lal.