M A I N   N E W S

Chargesheet filed against Badal, five others
Assets of 4,326 crore  Summoned to appear on Dec 1
Tribune News Service

Congress supporters burn an effigy of SAD president Parkash Singh Badal at Patiala
Congress supporters burn an effigy of SAD president Parkash Singh Badal at Patiala on Saturday.

Chandigarh, November 22
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau, investigating the alleged disproportionate assets of the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, his immediate family and friends, today presented a challan against them in the court of the District and Sessions Judge, Ropar. The challan was put up under various Sections of the IPC and CrPC, including the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

The case file was marked to the Special Judge, Mr S.K. Goyal, who has summoned all the six named in the challan to appear in the court on December 1.

Besides Mr Parkash Singh Badal, his wife, Ms Surinder Kaur Badal, and son, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, have been named in the challan. The three co-accused named are Mr Narottam Singh Dhillon, Mr Harbans Lal and Mr Jagnandan Singh, all “close associates of the Badal family”.

The Chief Director, Vigilance, Additional Director-General of Police, Mr A.P. Pandey, told mediapersons that the challan included disproportionate assets amounting to over Rs 78.39 crore. The Badals could not explain the source of this money during investigation and have been charged for this. This challan, pertained only to the five-year period of the SAD-BJP government. The Badals, on the other hand, had claimed during the investigation that their investment was Rs 54.98 crore.

The Vigilance Bureau, he said, had estimated the total value of the Badals’ properties, both inland and overseas, at Rs 4,326 crore. While the inland properties included in the Vigilance investigation had a market value of Rs 501 crore, the estimated value of the overseas properties was US $ 850 million or Rs 3,825 crore.

Mr Pandey said, the foreign properties were still under investigation. Once the Vigilance Bureau got “conclusive proof”, a supplementary challan would be presented in the court. Though the bureau was able to ‘’positively’’ establish that the Badals, in connivance with other accused, had created assets worth over Rs 78.39 crore between 1997 and 2002, the Vigilance estimate was that the properties owned by the Badals were worth over Rs 132 crore.

Giving some details about the investigation, Mr Pandey said so far three persons had been declared proclaimed offenders — Mr Kanwaljit Singh Sidhu of Wimpys International, Mr Krishan Kumar, Personal Assistant to Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, Mr Hardeep Singh Bhamra, OSD to Mr Parkash Singh Badal, when he was the Chief Minister, and Mr Pinky Grover. At least three more persons are to be declared proclaimed offenders. The one Mr Ashim Kapoor of Delhi, Mr Bhagwan Dass and Mr Anil Kumar, son of Mr Harbans Lal. The last two were responsible for maintaining the accounts of the Badals and were entrusted with construction work.

The present case against the Badals was registered by the Vigilance Bureau on the basis of a complaint, supported by affidavits that it had received from the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, for investigation. The complainant is Mr Balwant Singh of Dhalewan village in Mansa district, who had sought a probe by the Vigilance Bureau against the Badals.

Mr Balwant Singh had alleged that the Badals and their personal friends had amassed a huge wealth in an illegal manner during 1997-2002, the period when Mr Badal was the Chief Minister.

Mr Pandey said that besides disproportionate assets, the other charges of corruption against the Badals included “misuse of authority in making postings and transfers of public servants, accepting gratification for government jobs and awarding of contracts for construction of roads and buildings, acquisition of properties in foreign lands, etc. Corruption was rampant in those five years”.

The investigation had led to visits abroad by a DIG to list the properties and investments made by the Badals and probe laundering their ill-gotten money in the USA, New Zealand, Australia and Swiss banks.

Question-answers with Mr Pandey

When he said, “corruption was rampant during the SAD-BJP government”, he was immediately asked as to what was he doing as the Director of Vigilance during those five years, he fumbled for an answer and said, “It required political will.”

Do you mean to say that your will to expose corruption was wilfully scuttled by the government then and when you brought it to the notice of political executive? All he muttered was, “Next question.”

Asked when taking and offering bribe is a crime what action will be taken against those police officers, including a DIG, who had reportedly said in-camera in the court that they had bribed by paying money for posting, Mr Pandey said, “We are not charging them.”

On the leakage of parts of the Vigilance challan documents and their exposure by the Badals, he said that the documents released were “factual” and an inquiry had been ordered into the incident. The persons found guilty would be proceeded against. He denied that the entire investigation team was being dismantled following the leakage. In view of the leakage, do you think the Badals could “hamper” future investigations, as well? He said, “Yes, they can.”

Mr Pandey admitted that Mr Badal’s name was also linked to the PPSC job-on-cash scam.

Would the Badals be arrested? Mr Pandey made it clear that it was now for the court to proceed. “We will follow its instructions. But as and when required to join in the investigation, which remains inconclusive, we can always seek the court help to send summons”.


Akalis, SGPC give call for rasta roko today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 22
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the SGPC today gave a call for rasta roko in Punjab tomorrow following presentation of a challan against the Badals.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, his son, Mr Sukhbir Badal, and several other Akali leaders have described the allegations as fabricated and “politically motivated’’ at the behest of the Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi. The filing of challan had been deliberately timed to coincide with the assembly elections in four states to derive political mileage out of it. They dubbed the Vigilance document a “bundle of lies.”

During rasta roko, said the SGPC president, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, and the Secretary, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, the Akali workers would “resort to chakka jam”, but at the same time they would appeal to the workers to remain peaceful.

To deal with the rasta roko call, the district Superintendents of Police have been issued security instructions. They are not to allow either damage to public property or inconvenience to the people in general.

The Director-General of Police, Mr A.A. Siddiqui, told TNS tonight that peace would be maintained. The protest by the Akalis was being viewed as a “show of resentment” against the filing of the challan against their leader, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, his family members and others by the Vigilance Bureau.

Field reports indicate that the impact of the “rasta roko” agitation tomorrow will be uneven. The major impact is likely to be in the Malwa belt and it will be varied in Doaba and Majha. In the Malwa belt, the police is keeping watch in Faridkot and Muktsar, while Sangrur and Bathinda may maintain a low profile. In the Kapurthala-Phagwara belt also, some action as expected.


Badal will have to seek bail, say experts
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 22
Punjab’s former Chief Minister-cum-Shiromani Akali Dal President Parkash Singh Badal will have to apply for bail following the filing of a challan against him in a Ropar court — at least this is what the legal experts believe.

They claim that the former Chief Minister has no other option but to apply for bail in the case, or else go to the jail. ‘‘There is no other remedy available to him,’’ the experts declared.

Quoting the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), Punjab’s Advocate-General (AG) Harbhagwan Singh asserted that Mr Badal could either apply for anticipatory bail before the court of competent jurisdiction, or else surrender before the court and apply for regular bail. ‘‘In both the cases, the court will use its discretion,’’ he says.

The former Chief Minister, in statements before the media, had all along been saying that he would not apply for bail. The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, on the other hand, had been asserting that they would ‘present a foolproof case before the court’ and not arrest Mr Badal on their own. ‘‘We would go by the verdict of the court,’’ the Chief Minister had added.

Mr Badal’s supporters denied the allegations of change in the former Chief Minister’s stand after the filing of the challan. Mr Badal, they insisted, had asserted that he would not apply for bail during the investigation of case against him by the police.

‘‘Now that the matter is before the court, and Mr Badal has complete faith in the system, he will apply for bail,’’ they declared. Not attaching much significance to the development, they asserted, ‘‘Just a few weeks back, the Chief Minister had also applied for bail in a complaint case filed by Mr Badal.’’

Giving details of the procedure, Mr Harbhagwan Singh said that the prosecution would, on the next date of hearing, supply the copies of challan to the accused. The court would, subsequently, consider the question of framing charges.

Challan, or the final report of the police, under Section 173 of the CrPC, is submitted before a Magistrate as soon as the investigation in the matter is complete.

Explaining the significance and meaning of challan, criminal lawyer practising in the Punjab and Haryana High Court Surinder Kumar Garg said,‘‘Challan is collection of evidence and formation of opinion by the police. It does not bar the Judge to direct further inquiry or investigation in the matter.’’

Mr Garg also added that Section 173 (8) of the CrPC allowed the police to conduct further investigation in the matter even after the submission of report. ‘‘The police can submit supplementary report in case of additional evidence’’, he revealed. ‘‘The accused has the remedy of anticipatory bail. He can also appear before the court and apply for regular bail,’’ he added.Back


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | National Capital |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |