The Indian National Lok Dal on Saturday 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.
Chautala, 78, and his son Ajay would contest the state polls, INLD state president Ashok Arora told reporters.
Former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, his MLA son Ajay Chautala and 53 others including two IAS officers were on Saturday convicted on corruption and other charges by a Delhi court for illegally recruiting 3,206 junior teachers 12 years back.
"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 that 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 that 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 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.
Dismissing reports in a section of the media about some INLD legislators being in touch with Congress with the intention of switching sides, Arora cited recent examples in Punjab and Andhra Pradesh to claim that it was only Congress legislators who changed sides.
Arora demanded that the report of the committee formed by the state government over the cancellation of the mutations of Robert Vadra's land deals by IAS officer Ashok Khemka be made public and said INLD would take up this and other issues in the upcoming assembly session.