Wednesday, November 27, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Reprieve for Bhattal
Supporters vow to take revenge
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 26
The case of corruption and embezzlement by Punjab Agriculture and Rural Development and Panchayats Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, in the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund while she was the Chief Minister in 1996 took a new turn today when the Special Judge, here ordered that the court of the Special Judge had no jurisdiction to take cognizance of the case.

Earlier, the counsel of Mrs Bhattal had pleaded that the court of the Special Judge here had no jurisdiction to take cognizance of the case.

Mr Baljinder Singh Grewal, SP (Vigilance), Vigilance Bureau, Bathinda, said the department should file an appeal in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Mrs Bhattal had been facing trials for the past one year here following the registration of a case against her on a complaint lodged by Mr Balwant Singh, President, Amateur Boxing Association, Bathinda.

Outside the court complex Mrs Bhattal’s supporters shouted: “We will take revenge. We can even kiss the gallows for you”.

“Behanji (sister), it was you who asked us to vote for Maharani Parneet Kaur in the last parliamentary elections and now in the next parliamentary election we will see how the Maharani will get our votes,” said almost all the supporters who came turn by turn in the local circuit house to meet Mrs Bhattal.

Today it appeared as if the entire Lehragaga, the Assembly segment from where Mrs Bhattal returned to the Vidhan Sabha many times and which falls in the Patiala Lok Sabha area, had converged on the court complex.

While the supporters of Mrs Bhattal were showing their anger and resentment against the manner Mrs Bhattal was being treated by her own government, Mrs Bhattal was trying to pacify them by saying that she would tolerate all the atrocities being committed on her to save the party. She told her supporters not to make any comment or to any act which could harm the interests of the party.

While talking to media persons Mrs Bhattal said the party high command was seized of the matter pertaining to the registration of the criminal case against her and the role played by her opponents and other vested interest in the same. She added that as she belonged to a family of freedom fighters, who sacrificed all to save the country, she could also sacrifice her all to save the party.

Asked why she was not coming out with the names of those who were behind the registration of the criminal case against her, she said entire Punjab knew it. Even the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, categorically stated in the Vidhan Sabha in the presence of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh that those who played a game to register a case against her were sitting alongside her.

Asked whether the popularity of the Congress government was increasing or decreasing after two incidents — one pertaining to the joining of two CPI MLAs into the Congress without taking the party high command into confidence and second pertaining to the SGPC election episode — she said she would not like to make any comment.

Asked whether the party high command had interfered in the state government’s functioning in connection with the SGPC election after she met senior leaders or before she met them, she pointed out that the Press conference of AICC General Secretary Ambika Soni in connection with the Congress clarification with regard to its interference in the SGPC elections was addressed after she met the party high command and expressed her opinion.

Asked that when Capt Amarinder Singh gave a clean chit to Irrigation Minister Gurchet Singh Bhuller in a murder case and another clean chit to Mr Kuldeep Singh Bhuller, son of Mr Mehal Singh Bhuller, DGP, Punjab Police, in an alleged land-grabbing case then why did he not ask the authorities concerned to withdraw the false criminal case against her, she kept mum.

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