M A I N   N E W S

Badal, Sukhbir get bail
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, December 9
After deliberating over the facts for about four hours in a closed room the Special Judge, Ropar, Mr S.K. Goel, granted bail both to former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal against a personal bail bond of Rs 20 lakh and a surety of like amount in each case. The bail was granted on the condition that the accused should not leave the country without the prior permission of the court and should deposit their passports in court. They were also directed to fully cooperative with the investigating agencies.

The Judge delivered the judgement at about 8.20 pm in a packed courtroom. The legal proceeding in the case began today at about 11.30 am with the public prosecutor opposing the bail to the Badals.

In the reply to the arguments of the defence that the Special Court, Ropar, had no jurisdiction to try the case of Mr Badal the public prosecutor maintained that the notification by the Punjab Governor had empowered the Ropar Special Court to try all cases of corruption committed anywhere in Punjab that were registered at the Mohali police station of the Vigilance.

The Badals besides committing corruption at Chandigarh had also committed at other places in Punjab like Muktsar and Killianwali. Besides corruption was also allegedly committed in Ropar as they owned a poultry farm here that was a part of the disproportionate assets mentioned in the challan. Due to this the Special Court, Ropar, had the jurisdiction to try the present case against the Badals. To this, counsel of Badal maintained that as per the Prevention of Corruption Act, as interpreted by the Supreme Court, only the Special Court of the area could try the case. Since all the allegations against Mr Badal were during his stint as Chief Minister only the Chandigarh Special Court had the jurisdiction of trying the case as his office at Chandigarh was allegedly the hub of corruption.

The prosecution also countered the defence plea that proper sanction was not taken before prosecuting Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Sukhbir Badal. The public prosecutor maintained that no sanction was required to prosecute the guilty in the case. The sanction for prosecuting of a public servant was required only in case he was holding the same office at the time of committing the crime. In the present case Sukhbir Badal was prosecuted for a crime committed for the period in which he was not a public servant. In the case of Mr Badal, since he was an MLA and enjoyed the Cabinet status only as a special privilege the sanction from the Speaker of the House had been taken. The prosecution also maintained that Mr Sukhbir Badal was being tried under Sections 8 and 9 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and therefore no sanction was required under the said sections.

Counsel of Mr Badal, however, contended the point that even other sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act were applicable on Sukhbir Badal as there was no differentiation between the accused in the challan.

The prosecution along with the reply attached newspaper clippings alleging that the Badals threatened the witnesses and the investigating officers in the case. Citing the leak of the challan before it was filed in the court, they also alleged that the Badals were trying to influence the investigation and so should be kept in judicial custody.

The prosecution also maintained that a witness whose identity had not been disclosed was allegedly threatened by the Badals.

Defence counsel of Mr Badal on the other maintained that during the five-month investigation period the vigilance did not feel the necessity of arresting the Badals. The Badals cooperated with the investigating agencies whenever they were called. In addition they themselves appeared before the court on December 1 even though the summons were not served on them.

The vigilance had already filed a challan against them and the only basis for keeping the Badals in judicial custody was to ensure their presence in court. Since the accused were themselves cooperating with the court and investigating agencies there was no basis of keeping them under judicial custody.

To the prosecution citing newspaper clipping that the Badals were threatening investigating officials the defence maintained that even the Chief Minister had been issuing political statements and no cognizance should be taken regarding the political statements.

After the arguments were closed at about 4.30 pm the Judge demanded sometime for delivering the verdict. The prosecution once against pleaded for deferring the verdict till tomorrow. However the defence insisted for judgement today after which the Judge directed them to stay till he dictated the verdict.

Owing to the sensitivity of the case the Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister and other senior officers of the Punjab Vigilance kept track of the proceedings from the Boat Club, Ropar.


Ban on issuing press statements
Our Correspondent

Ropar, December 9
The other conditions added to the bail application of Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Badal include that the two accused will not issue press statements regarding the case.

They have also been directed against holding public meetings regarding the sub-judiced matter and not to intimidate any of the investigating officials. The judgement comprises 43 pages.

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 |