Saturday, May 24, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Bhajan’s arrest stayed till May 28
Faces case of murderous attack
Sushil Manav

Fatehabad, May 23
The Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mr Darshan Singh, has stayed the arrest of former Chief Minister Bhajan Lal till May 28 in a case relating to criminal intimidation and murderous attack registered against him here last night. A criminal case was registered against Mr Bhajan Lal, the Republican Party of India MLA from Palwal, Mr Karan Singh Dalal, Mr Makhan Lal, personal security officer (PSO) of the former Chief Minister, and six or seven National Security Guards Commandos posted on security duty of Mr Bhajan Lal. They were charged with threatening to kill police officers and employees on election duty on May 21, the polling day of the Fatehabad Assembly byelection.

The FIR was registered in the local City Police Station on the complaint of Mr Jagdish Chander, District Inspector, Sirsa, under Sections 307, 332, 353, 186, 188, 189, 506, 147 and 149 of the IPC and 134-B of the Representation of People Act, 1951.

The Deputy Superintendent of Police, (City), Mr Ram Kumar, who inquired into the complaint recorded the statements of Mr Jagdish Chander, a resident of Bighar village, Mr Budh Singh, SHO of Rori police station in Sirsa district, Mr Ruli Ram, a resident of Bangaon village and Mr Attar Singh Ahlawat, SP, Sirsa, and directed the SHO of the local City Police Station to register the FIR.

The FIR inter alia said Mr Bhajan Lal, Mr Karan Singh Dalal, Mr Makhan Lal and the commandos of the NSG moved in a convoy in violation of the Election Code of Conduct on May 21. It further said the accused had an altercation with police officers and employees on duty at the Fatehabad PWD Rest House where the accused allegedly threatened to kill them. The FIR further said that the former Chief Minister and other accused reached Bighar village and allegedly threatened the public by brandishing guns and asked them to vote for the Congress. An NSG commando, according to the FIR, placed his gun on the temple of Jagdish, son of Mr Raja Ram, a resident of Bighar, in order to kill him at the instance of Mr Bhajan Lal.

Mr Bhajan Lal, when contacted, described the FIR as false and concocted and said it was aimed at preventing him from joining the counting of votes, scheduled for May 24. He said that he was not afraid of such tactics.

Later, an application to stay the arrest was filed in the court of the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mr Darshan Singh, on behalf of Mr Bhajan Lal and his PSO Makhan Lal. Mr P. K. Sandhir, counsel for the former Chief Minister, submitted that the police had registered the case with a mala fide intention due to political reasons.

The application said the SP of Sirsa, Mr A. S. Ahlawat, tried to stop the applicants from roaming in the constituency, though they were armed with court orders. The counsel showed a report published in The Tribune dated May 22, which said that Mr Bhajan Lal was contemplating legal action against the police officers. Counsel contended that the FIR had been filed to pre-empt any such action. The allegations of criminal intimidation, the application said, were false and improbable. 

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