Delhi HC asks Om Prakash Chautala to surrender on Saturday
New Delhi: INLD chief and former Haryana Chief Minster Om Prakash Chautala was on Friday ordered by the
Delhi High Court to surrender on Saturday in Tihar jail for misusing bail conditions by campaigning for assembly polls, saying he cannot “take the court for a ride”.
The High Court made it clear that it would not entertain any plea on extension of time for surrender. “Let him surrender tomorrow and let’s not bargain over this,” it said. “You (Chautala) cannot take the court for a ride and cannot be permitted to question the majesty, dignity and decorum of this court,” Justice Siddharth Mridul said trashing repeated submissions of senior advocates led by Ram Jethmalani that the 79-year-old leader be allowed to remain out till 17 October, the date fixed earlier for his surrender.Chautala, who could not be served with the HC notice yesterday night by CBI, first turned up in the morning before Special CBI Judge Manu Rai Sethi at Tees Hazari district courts here in pursuance of a disproportionate assets case.
The trial court yesterday had rejected Chautala’s plea seeking exemption from personal appearance and permission to take part in the ongoing Haryana election campaign. It had
sought his personal appearance on Friday.
The trial judge allowed the CBI to serve Chautala with the court notice. The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader said that he will be appearing in the high court today itself.
Chautala reached the high court in the afternoon and went into a huddle with his lawyers including Jethmalani before entering the packed courtroom at 2.15 pm.
The moment Jethmalani started advancing arguments, the judge interrupted him saying, “Do you think anything needs to be said now. The pictures speak thousand words.”
“He is an elderly gentleman and this court has been made to believe that he has been suffering from various ailments and hence, I had taken these things into consideration,” the judge said.
During the hearing, the court said, “Fact is if he (Chautala) is well enough to campaign, well enough to travel, he will have to surrender.”
“I cannot for a moment permit anyone to question the majesty, dignity and decorum of this court. I cannot permit this. Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done,” the judge said.
Asking Chautala to surrender tomorrow before the jail authorities, the court said that he can be taken to AIIMS if the medical/jail superintendent considers so.
At the fag end of the hearing, Jethmalani said, “I seek 24 hours more for him and he be allowed to surrender on Monday morning.”
“Let him surrender tomorrow. Let’s not bargain over this,” the court said.
The INLD leader was granted bail in the case relating to teachers recruitment scam in which he has been convicted and sentenced to 10 years and his appeal is pending in the high court.
The HC judge orally made it clear that Chautala would not indulge in campaigning in the intervening period till he surrenders.
Chautala also addressed the court saying, “I need treatment for fractures that are in the process of healing. I will surrender on 17 October, if court allows it.” ‘Nahi, aisa nahi ho sakta hai’ (no this cannot be done), the judge said.
The CBI, which had sought cancellation of Chautala’s bail, wanted him to surrender today itself. “Especially in view of the campaigning done by him, let him rest for some time,” Special Public Prosecutor Rajdipa Behura, appearing for CBI, said.
The judge said that he was pained and disappointed at the actions of Chautala and the relief granted to him “can’t be turned into a carnival”.
“If he has faith in judiciary and the system, he must surrender,” the judge said, adding,”There must be a line which must not be crossed”.