Friday, October 10, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Vigilance grills Sukhbir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, son of former Punjab Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal, will have to face the Vigilance Bureau again as his questioning, which lasted over four hours today, remained inconclusive.

He was grilled in a corruption case by top officers of the bureau, including Mr S. Chattopadhya and Mr B.K. Uppal, both DIGs, and Mr Surinder Pal Singh, SP, at the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) office in Sector 17.

A senior Vigilance officer said “We need a few more grilling’ sessions with the junior Badal to extract truth about his sources of income, properties and huge investments in Orbit Resorts”. His father and mother were questioned yesterday in the same case.

Speaking to the mediapersons, he lambasted the Vigilance Bureau for asking him unnecessary questions, adding that “The bureau is hoping to catch a big fish when there is none”. He claimed that everything was accounted for in income tax returns.

Sources in the bureau maintain that Mr Sukhbir Badal was yet to account for several financial transactions such as his investment in Orbit Resorts in Gurgaon, renovation of his house (H No. 256) in Sector 9, Chandigarh; Balasar farmhouse and loans that he had taken from his relatives such as Narottam Singh Dhillon.

The Vigilance officer said Mr Sukhbir Badal denied having any links with Harbans Lal, the petrol pump manager arrested recently in this case.

Mr Sukhbir Badal has sought a week's time to furnish details and documents on his loans and properties. After verifying these documents, Mr Badal would again be asked to either appear before the bureau or furnish the details in writing”.

The sources said that though Capt Amarinder Singh was claiming that the challan against the Badals would be filed by the end of October, the way the investigations were going on it seemed unlikely.

Mr Sukhbir Badal said the Vigilance was functioning at the behest of Capt Amarinder Singh. The questioning was part of a political game the Chief Minister was playing to defame SAD activists and workers. Capt Amarinder Singh was talking in terms of proving property worth Rs 3,500 crore allegedly owned by us but he would not even be able to prove property even worth Rs 50 lakh, the junior Badal said.

Mr Sukhbir Badal was accompanied by a large number of slogan-shouting supporters even as the area had been cordoned off by the police. Former SGPC President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, Mr Zora Singh Mann, MP, and Mr Gagan Deep Singh Barnala and Mr Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal, MLAs, had a brief altercation with the police before Sukhbir entered the bureau office. These leaders wanted to accompany Sukhbir but were not allowed to do so initially. However, the bureau later allowed Mr Manpreet Badal, Mr Zora Singh Mann and Bibi Jagir Kaur to enter the building.

Hundreds of SAD activists who had thronged the place kept shouting slogans against Capt Amarinder Singh.

Addressing a rally of youth Akali workers in Sector 17 soon after his questioning Mr Sukhbir Badal said the real fight against Capt Amarinder Singh would begin in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. The repression on Akali leaders would be the main poll plank of the SAD.

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