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Ludhiana City Centre case
Relief for Chahal till July 4
Vishal Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 31
In a marathon hearing, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today granted interim relief to B.I.S. Chahal, media adviser to former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, till July 4 in Ludhiana City Centre case.

The relief, entailing protection against arrest in a case related to Ludhiana City Centre ‘scam’, came following Justice Uma Nath Singh’s observation that petitioner Chahal, was not named as the main accused in the aforesaid case.

Prosecution’s counsel Rita Kohli had opposed the grant of relief to Chahal asserting he would use his clout to twist the evidence and material related to the case.

She repeatedly submitted that Chahal’s role was still to be investigated by the Vigilance Bureau, which had, in their affidavit given today, stated that on the basis of information in their possession, Chahal was wanted in one case only.

Following Kohli’s submission, the judge made a strict observation that case against Chahal should appear to be reasonable and should not smack of ‘witch-hunting’. He also directed advocate-general of Punjab H.S. Mattewal to appear before the court for further arguments.

In fact, during the course of arguments, the judge observed that if the investigation ever appeared to be guided by personal vendetta, he would transfer the investigation to the CBI.

The judge also said that the Director, Vigilance, would be sent to Punjab Armed Police, if there were an iota of evidence that he was acting illegally or in a highhanded manner.

In another petition by Chahal before the same court, R.S. Cheema, former advocate-general of Punjab and counsel for Chahal, pleaded for a week’s notice before arrest in any case registered or to be registered against Chahal. This excluded the Ludhiana City Centre case.

He asserted that the petitioner was in no way involved in the case and the allegation against him was based on the statement of property dealer.

This triggered off a spate of legal arguments with many Supreme Court citations being quoted between Mattewal and Cheema.

Mattewal came up with a spirited defence of the Vigilance Bureau saying that the bureau had not done anything illegal or wrong so far and to presume that government was acting with malafide intentions was stretching things too far.

Cheema had questioned the appointment of an IG-level officer as Vigilance Bureau Director saying it was against the norms and had happened for the first time in the past 15 years.

Meanwhile, Chahal submitted his passport before the court, which directed him to deposit it to the registry.

The arguments will continue tomorrow.



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