Disproportionate Assets case: Court allows Abhay Chautala to travel to Pakistan

A court here today allowed former Haryana chief minister O P Chautala’s son Abhay Chautala, accused in a disproportionate assets case, to travel to Lahore in Pakistan.

Special Judge Arvind Kumar gave his nod to Abhay to travel from today till March 19 to Lahore for a wedding on furnishing a security of Rs 2 lakh, saying there was no tangible ground made by the CBI to deny him the permission.

“The present case relates to accused having possessed assets disproportionate to his known sources of income. It is not the case of CBI that accused had tampered with evidence or there is a chance of accused absconding from justice,” the court said.

“The only grievance of the CBI is that the accused had filed his application at the fag end and CBI did not get the time to verify the facts stated in the application by the accused. No tangible ground is made by the CBI for not granting the permission to go abroad,” it said.

The court while allowing Abhay’s plea also imposed conditions, including not contacting or influencing any witness and intimating the court prior to leaving and within 48 hours of return from abroad.

It also directed him to provide his travel itinerary and an attested copy of his passport and visa once he returned.

The court had yesterday reserved its order after Abhay’s counsel Harsk K Sharma submitted an application before the special judge seeking permission for the accused to travel to Lahore.

The plea was opposed by the CBI, which had lodged the DA case against Abhay, his father and INLD chief O P Chautala and brother Ajay on the complaint of Congress leader Shamsher Singh Surjewala.

Surjewala had alleged that the three accused had amassed wealth worth several times more than their income.

Objecting to Abhay’s application, CBI Special Public Prosecutor Ajay Gupta had said there was an inexplicable delay in filing this plea as he made the request only today for travelling to the “enemy country” tomorrow.

“Why is the plea filed at the 11th hour? They are not seeking permission, they are informing the court about travel,” Gupta said.

To this, Abhay’s lawyer had said the wedding invitation card was received via WhatsApp only a day before and they moved the court for its nod immediately thereafter.

The CBI has alleged that Abhay owned assets worth over five times his income of Rs 22.89 crore as per income tax records during the 2000-2005 period. It has also claimed to have found Rs 119.69 crore worth of assets.

The CBI had also alleged that Ajay possessed assets exceeding his legal income by 339.27 per cent. His legal income between May 1993 and May 2006 was Rs 8.17 crore, but had acquired assets worth Rs 27.7 crore, it had alleged.

Earlier, all the three cases, which were being heard in different courts, were transferred to a single court on CBI’s plea on the ground that trials in different courts would lead to inordinate delay in concluding them.

All charges have been denied by O P Chautala and his sons.

The former chief minister and Ajay were sentenced to 10 years in jail early this year by the high court in the 1999-2000 junior teachers recruitment scam.

The CBI had on March 26, 2010, charge sheeted Chautala indicting him for allegedly possessing assets worth Rs 6.09 crore, far exceeding his legal income between 1993 and 2006.

Two such cases are going on against his sons, Ajay and Abhay.

In its charge sheet, the CBI had alleged that Chautala’s wealth was 189 per cent more than his income of Rs 3.22 crore during the period.

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