Thursday, March 28, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

SAD MLA Keetu arrested
Our Correspondent

Barnala, March 27
Mr Malkiat Singh Keetu, the SAD MLA booked by the Bhadaur police for alleged misappropriation of funds of the Truck Operators Union, Bhadaur, was arrested today.

Later, he was produced in the court of Mr Rakesh Gupta, Civil Judge (Junior Division)-cum-Judicial Magistrate, Barnala. Listening to the arguments, Mr Gupta remanded the MLA from Barnala in police custody till March 29.

Earlier, after getting the news of Mr Keetu’s arrest, activists of SAD, Bharatiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal) and the BJP, led by Mr Balbir Singh Ghunas, MLA, staged a protest dharna in front of the office of the SDM, Barnala, alleging that the case against Mr Keetu was a result of political vendetta. Protesters submitted a memorandum to Mr N.S. Walia, SDM, demanding that the “false” case against Mr Keetu should be withdrawn unconditionally.

Mr Ghunas warned that if the case against Mr Keetu was not withdrawn immediately, then the activists would stage a dharna at the local Shaheed Bhagat Singh Chowk.

Mr Keetu, talking to this correspondent today in the local courts complex, said he had been implicated in a false case as part of a political conspiracy.


Sidhu remanded till March 31
Search warrant issued
Shashi Pal Jain

Kharar, March 27
Mr Roshan Lal Chouhan, Judicial Magistrate, here today remanded Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu, PPSC Chairman, in police custody till March 31.

The orders were pronounced at 9.20 p.m. today.

The accused was arrested by the Vigilance Department, Punjab, on March 26 while accepting a bribe of Rs 5 lakh.

The accused was produced in the court today after 4 p.m.

The judge after hearing the arguments said he would pass the order only after he received a copy of the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chandigarh, which was expected in the evening.

The judge also issued search warrant for the house of the accused in Chandigarh and office of the PPSC. He also ordered that the accused should be medically examined at the Sector 32 hospital, in Chandigarh.

Mr K.S. Brar, Deputy District Attorney, Mr J.S. Punn, Assistant District Attorney, Mr Jaskarn Singh, SP, Economic Offences, Mr Jora Singh Brar, DSP, Vigilance, who were present in the court room, pleaded for 14 days’ police remand for the accused. They said the information was yet to be collected from the accused about his various lockers and other properties.

They said the information was to be collected about the file concerning the complainant, which was with the accused.

They further said the information was to be collected about the money sent by the accused abroad through hawala transactions and informed the court that the accused had a house in Kasauli and Chandigarh. They pleaded that till now no information had been collected from the accused as he was admitted in the hospital.

The defence counsel on the other hand alleged that the accused had been implicated in a false case. He said whatever the police was asking for was lying in the office of the PPSC in Patiala and the police could collect it from there. He produced some clippings of newspapers in which the Chief Minister, Mr Amarinder Singh, had some time ago levelled serious allegations about corruption in the office of the PPSC.

At this the Public Prosecutor presented a Punjabi newspaper, Desh Sewak, being published from Chandigarh in which a news was published today regarding the missing file from the office of the PPSC and said even the file concerning this case might get misplaced.

The defence counsel opposed the demand for police remand and pleaded for judicial remand.

CHANDIGARH: PPSC Chair-man Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu does not have a heart problem, doctors at Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, said here on Wednesday.


Approach Kharar court for bail: HC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
Holding that the Punjab Vigilance Department had the jurisdiction to proceed against PPSC Chairman Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu, Mr Justice J.S. Khehar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today ruled that the criminal writ petition seeking his production had been rendered infructuous.

Delivering the verdict in the open court at about 8.40 pm after hearing detailed arguments in the case for several hours, Mr Justice Khehar also ordered that Mr Sidhu, if he so desired, could move the court of Kharar’s Judicial Magistrate (First Class) for availing the remedy of bail.

Regarding the disobedience of orders issued by Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi directing Mr Sidhu’s production before the court yesterday at 12.30 pm, Mr Justice Khehar directed the sealing of the case record. He also ordered that the matter, with the approval of the High Court Chief Justice, should be placed before Mr Justice Singhvi as his orders had not been complied with. The authorities concerned, including Punjab’s DGP, were, nevertheless, granted liberty to file further affidavits within three weeks.

As far as the safety of the accused was concerned, Mr Justice Khehar recorded an undertaking given by an Inspector-General of Police, stating that Mr Sidhu would be examined by an officer of the rank of SSP or above. The undertaking added that his counsel would be permitted to meet him twice a day — at 8 am and 8 pm. Taking into consideration his latest medical report, the judge added that interrogation of Mr Sidhu in the presence of a senior medical officer would be appropriate.

In his detailed order, the judge added that the contention of the petitioner’s counsel in the habeas corpus petition regarding Mr Sidhu’s non-production in the court had nothing to do with the merits of the case. As far as the bail was concerned, the judge added that Mr Sidhu would lose his valuable rights if the same was decided by him.

Earlier, during the proceedings, counsel for the petitioner stated that the relief being sought in such a petition could be moulded and the detainee could not only be granted bail, but the inquiry could also be transferred to an independent agency. Alleging violation of the set procedure by the Punjab Vigilance Department, he added that it had no jurisdiction in the matter. Giving details, he added that the trap for Mr Sidhu was laid in Chandigarh and not in Punjab. Moreover, the Chandigarh police had not been associated and the statements of two independent eyewitnesses — Mr Sidhu’s servant and his personal security officer — had not been recorded.

He also claimed that the story narrated to the court was at variance with the official record. The application for remand had made no mention regarding the orders issued by Mr Justice Singhvi. He also suggested that Mr Sidhu was not produced in the court as directed so that his statement could not be recorded in the petition.

Counsel for the respondents, on the other hand, contended that the petition was rendered infructuous the moment Mr Sidhu was shown to be in lawful custody.

Meanwhile, according to a UNI report, the police has sealed the official residence of Mr Sidhu in Sector 39 and put guards at his private residence in Sector 10 of the city, apparently to prevent the transfer of incrimatory documents or material evidence, if any, against him.


PPSC chief epitome of corruption
Punjab not to use POTO: CM
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 27
Defending legal action against Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) chairman, Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said today that he (Mr Sidhu) had become an epitome of corruption in the state and his corruption had crossed all limits. “His corruption had become legendary”, the Chief Minister remarked.

Addressing a press conference at the Punjab Police Academy, near here today, Captain Amarinder Singh however, denied that it was a vindictive step or witch hunt by his government. He said, his role was limited to the extent that he had directed all officers to ensure that all corrupt persons are booked and brought to the book. “I have nothing personal against anyone”, he said, while replying to the charges levelled by Mr Sidhu.

Putting up a strong case against Mr Sidhu, the Chief Minister said, it took some time, hard work and consistent vigilance to monitor his activities and the style of his working. “The vigilance officials kept a watch as how he was functioning and taking money from the people and ultimately he was caught”, Capt Amarinder Singh disclosed.

To a question whether his government will process the case for his removal as the chairman of the PPSC following his being trapped, he pointed out, there was a set procedure and it was the discretion of the President of India to remove him. But, he clarified, “we have started investigation and are not going to jump to the conclusion and any such action (for removing him) would be routed through the central government only”.

When asked whether his government had identified some more corrupt persons who would meet the same fate, Capt Amarinder Singh evaded a direct reply, but said, all those people found to be corrupt would not be allowed to go scotfree. He pointed out, “we have been voted to power primarily on two issues. One, the corruption of the previous government and the other being providing clean administration. So we stand accountable to the people for our promises and we have act and fulfil them”.

On the implementation of the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO) in Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh clarified, since it was an act passed by Parliament it stood applicable everywhere in the country including Punjab. But when asked whether it would be used here, he retorted, “we will not need to use it here since there is complete peace in Punjab”. 

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