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City Centre Scam
Punjab challenges bail for Today Homes officials
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, June 11
Finding it hard to call accused persons for examination by the Vigilance Bureau in the multi-crore Ludhiana City Centre scam, the Punjab government today filed yet another set of appeals in the Supreme Court challenging the grant of anticipatory bail to the executives of Delhi-based companies Today Homes and Today Hotels.

This is the fourth set of special leave petitions (SLPs) moved by the Punjab government against the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court granting anticipatory bails to the accused persons in the case.

Earlier, the government had challenged the bail to former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, his wife Parneet Kaur, his son Raninder Singh, Raminder Singh, son-in-law of Amarinder’s brother and B.I.S. Chahal, a former media adviser to the Amarinder.

A team of Punjab government law officers comprising additional advocate general K.K. Khurana, standing counsel in the Supreme Court Ajay Pal and Kuldip Singh had been asked to closely coordinate by the Badal government to ensure that every legal remedy was sought against any relief sought by the accused persons from the High Court or any other court in the multi-crore scam to bring the investigation to a logical end.

The bail to the executives of Today Homes and Today Hotels, which got the contract in the city centre project during the Congress regime, was challenged on the ground that the interim order regarding this was passed by the single judge of the High Court on May 31 in alleged “disregard” of the law laid down by the apex court on the grant of pre-arrest bails.

The Punjab government said the High Court had dealt with all four petitions of Today Homes and Today Hotels executive in a joint order, which was not permissible under the law.

“A perusal of the impugned order would further revel that the single judge has not assigned any reason, much less any cogent reason, for granting concession (against arrest) to the respondents (the executives of the two companies), where it could be said that the judicial discretion had been fairly and correctly exercised,” it said.

In the SLP, challenging the grant of protection against arrest to Chahal, the government said the High Court had cited the reason of “closure of the courts” for summer vacation, which could not be a valid reason under law for granting such a “blanket protection” to an accused person.

The government said it had been a normal practice during the court vacation that urgent matters were listed before the vacation Benches, which were set up only to hear such cases.

In the face of it, the protection against arrest granted to Chahal, who was one of the key accused in the case, needed to be set aside, the SLP said, adding that otherwise it would amount to “stifling investigation”.

The government also brought to the notice of the apex court a case related to “contempt of court” against Chahal in the High Court in the case of the appointment of police officers and said a person who was facing such a probe by the court should not be granted such a “blanket protection” against arrest in another case.



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