Thursday, July 3, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Wimpy case: another notice to Amarinder Singh
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 2
Issuing notices to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, the state government and others for the second time on writ petitions by four employees of Wimpy, an international food chain company, the Delhi High Court today took serious view of the state Vigilance Bureau’s action of arresting five company officials here without informing the local police.

The Vigilance Bureau had detained Wimpy officials here on June 14 in connection with a corruption case against Hardeep Singh Bhamra, who was OSD to former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, also facing investigation for allegedly acquiring properties disproportionate to his known sources of income by misusing his official position while heading the Akali government in the state.

Hearing the writ petitions by Wimpy’s Finance Director R K Gupta, Deputy Manager (Finance) Sanjiv Kulshreshta and drivers - Harjinder Singh and Devinder Singh - who were detained and whisked away to Chandigarh by the Bureau sleuths on the night of June 13 without informing the Delhi Police, the court sought an explanation from the Punjab government counsel D K Sharma in this regard.

A Bench comprising Mr Justice Mukul Mudgal and Mr Justice R.S. Sodhi also asked the Delhi Government counsel Akshay Bipin how the Vigilance Bureau officials had taken out of the Capital the company employees without the knowledge of the local police and complying with the provisions of law.

As per the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code, any investigating agency from another state has to act in close coordination with the local police for arresting any person within the territory of that state from where he was being detained. The arrested person is required to be produced before the local court for a transit remand, the Bench observed.

The Bench had on Monday issued notices to the Punjab Chief Minister, the state government and other respondents including five sleuths of the Vigilance Bureau, Deputy Commissioner of Police (South Delhi) and ACP Greater Kailash on the petitions filed by Wimpy and its vice-president Yesh Dhawan.

The respondents had been asked to submit their replies by July 4, when the matter will be taken up for hearing.

Punjab Home Secretary, Vigilance Bureau’s Additional Director-General A.K. Pandey, Deputy Inspectors General -Sidharth Chattopadhayaya and K K Uppal - and SP Surinder Singh are among the respondents issued notices by the court.

The Vigilance Bureau has accused the company officials and its London-based NRI owner and managing director Kanwal Singh Sidhu of helping Badal and his family “in converting their ill-gotten black money into white money”.

Wimpy and its officials have pleaded innocence and accused the state government of “unnecessarily dragging” their names in the case.

Describing the action of Vigilance Bureau as “illegal” they have sought the quashing of the proceedings against them, contending that they had “no connection” with Badal and any other person close to him.

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