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Will return only on lawyers’ advice
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
“We will not allow the politics of vendetta to dominate. We will get the best of lawyers to defend every member of our party,” is how former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh reacts to the registration of a case against him and 18 others by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau in the Ludhiana City Centre scam.

Talking to The Tribune on the phone from London, Amarinder Singh said that he had been in touch with his lawyer and former advocate-general R.S. Cheema after reading The Tribune report on the internet.

The Tribune was the only newspaper to report the registration of the case against Amarinder Singh, Ch Jagjit Singh and 17 others this morning.

Agitated over the manner in which the case had been registered, naming him and his cabinet colleague Jagjit Singh, he said that the facts had been distorted. “It is all concoction,” he said.

“All I can recall is that the file came to me only once on which I remember making a noting that the case should be decided one way or the other as it had been pending for a long time.

“During my five-year tenure, I approved 377 mega projects worth Rs 105000 crore and no one can accuse me of taking even a single paisa from anyone.

“The facts of the case as far as I remember are that it would have been worth Rs 1,500 core in 10 years’ time. The initial project cost was Rs 120 crore of which the promoters made a booking of Rs 93 crore and one-third of the total booking was to be deposited with the Ludhiana Improvement Trust. How they have come to the imaginary figures of Rs 1,500 crore and Rs 3,000 crore, I do not know.

“I shall return to India as and when my lawyers advise me to. If they want me to come tomorrow, I will come tomorrow. So, now there is no question of my coming on March 26. I have finalised no date for my return,” added Amarinder Singh.

He claimed that the project was the best thing to have happened to Punjab. The proposed centre would have given Ludhiana Asia’s largest building. It would have been an asset to Ludhiana, to Punjab and the country. “I pity them if they have picked this project for taking out their political frustration on our party leaders,” remarked Amarinder Singh while referring to the first offensive of the SAD-BJP regime against him and his party.

If there were any technical snags left or were overseen, these could have been rectified. “We will not take it lying down and defend ourselves by engaging the best legal luminaries,” the former Chief Minister said.

The case, which was registered at the Ludhiana vigilance police station yesterday, has sent shock waves in political circles. Officials in the Vigilance Bureau denied any political vendetta in registering the case.

They maintained that all facts relating to the case were closely examined in the preliminary inquiry before a decision was taken to register the FIR. “We had sufficient prima facie evidence before we decided to register the case under the relevant provisions of both the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act,” they added.

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Jagjit gives VB the slip
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

A view of Chaudhary Jagjit Singh’s house in Dhaliwal village in Jalandhar district, on Saturday.
A view of Chaudhary Jagjit Singh’s house in Dhaliwal village in Jalandhar district, on Saturday. — Photo by S.S. Chopra

Dhaliwal (Jalandhar), March 24
A team of the Vigilance Bureau from Ludhiana raided former Local Bodies Minister Chaudhary Jagjit Singh’s house in Dhaliwal village on Friday night to nab him in Ludhiana City Centre (LCC) scam case.

When The Tribune team visited the house on Saturday, neither Chaudhary Jagjit nor his wife Gurbachan Kaur was present in the house, where an Ambassador car (PB 36 D 1000) was parked.

Only Harnek an attendant was in the house. He feigned ignorance about the raid. He said he was on day duty and had come at eight in the morning. Claiming ignorance about Chaudhary Jagjit Singh’s whereabouts, Harnek said Gurbachan Kaur had gone to market for purchasing.

However Chaudhury Jagjit’s neighbour Kamla confirmed the raid. She said several persons in four vehicles had come to Chaudhary Jagjit’s house on Friday night, adding they left the house after some time.

Meanwhile some persons working in the Municipal Corporation, Jalandhar, were seen keeping an eye on visitors to Chaudhary Jagjit’s house.

In the meantime Ludhiana Vigilance Bureau SSP Kamaljeet Singh Sandhu confirmed a team had been sent to nab Chaudhary Jagjit. He was not found there. The team was told he had gone to Chandigarh and the Vigilance Bureau was searching possible hideouts of his and other accused.

Sandhu said only two accused — Amit and Kewal Kumar Verma had been arrested in the LCC scam case.

Meanwhile there were unconfirmed reports that Chaudhary had gone to some foreign country to avoid arrest. However neither he nor his any family member including his son Chaudhary Surinder, chairman, Zila Parishad Jalandhar, could be contacted to know exact position.

Besides Chaudhary Jagjit, former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and former chairman of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust PS Sibia are among 19 named in the LCC scam case.

An FIR in this regard had been registered under Sections 409, 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC besides Section 7(1) (c) (d) read with 13(2) and 14 of the Prevention of Corruption Act by the Vigilance Bureau, Ludhiana.

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Hanspal too in net; airports on alert
Jupinderjit Singh/ Rajneesh Lakhanpal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 24
The Vigilance Bureau here has issued look out notices to all domestic and international airports about the 17 of the 19 accused, former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, ex-minister Jagjit Singh and ex-Chief Improvement Trust, Ludhiana Paramjit Singh Sibia and ex-PPCC Chief H S Hanspal in the alleged 100-crore City Centre scam.

The bureau also sought search warrants from a court here to search houses of Amarinder Singh, Ch Jagjit Singh and Paramjit Singh Sibia. Duty Magistrate K.K. Jain ordered the bureau to appear before the Illaqa magistrate on March 26 for hearing on the application.

The bureau mainly wanted to search Moti Bagh, residence of the former CM.

The bureau has so far arrested two of the accused with Kamal Kumar Verma. Another consultant to the Infrastructures Professionals Enterprises Private of Delhi arrested here today. Consultant Amit Sardana was arrested yesterday. The duty magistrate granted four-day police remand of the accused.

The FIR registered at the Vigilance Bureau police station here last night also names former Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief H.S. Hanspal an accused.

SSP Vigilance Kanwarjit Singh Sandhu told The Tribune raids were on to nab the accused.

He said the look out notices were issued to prevent any accused from going abroad.

The notices will enable the arrest of former CM Amarinder Singh at the airport, if he returns.

There was speculation former local bodies Minister, Jagjit Singh had also fled the country, the SSP said.

The other accused named in the FIR were Capt. Rajesh, Manmohan Singh Chief Engineer Punjab Improvement Trust, and employees of the IPEP company S.K.M. Naqvi, Saurav Gupta, Sanjay Gupta, Vinay Sukhbija, J K Gambhir and Sunil Sharma.

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