M A I N   N E W S

4 key witnesses turn hostile in Badal case
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 18
Four prime witnesses today turned hostile against Punjab Vigilance Bureau in a case filed against Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and nine others for possessing assets disproportionate to their known sources of income.

During their appearance before the court of special judge, Ropar, G.S. Saram, they claimed to have been pressurised. They alleged that then DIG B.K. Uppal and investigating officer of the case, then SP vigilance and SSP, Ropar, Surinderpal Singh Virk “pressurised” them to sign reports of the evaluation of the Badals’ properties at a Balasar farm, Orbit Resort, Gurgaon, and his residence in Sector 9 in Chandigarh.

The four witnesses are retired superintending engineer (SE) PWD B&R Department, Punjab, at Chandigarh, Kanwaljeet Singh Brar, SE PWD B&R, Punjab, at Chandigarh, K.S. Bhinder, executive engineer, Kandi Canal, R.K. Garg and retired senior executive engineer in Vigilance Bureau, Punjab, at Chandigarh, Gurdeep Singh. The cross-examination of the fifth witness, retired SE B&R Jagmohan Singh Nanda, will be conducted tomorrow.

Saran repeatedly asked all witnesses if they are under any kind of “pressure” to change their statements.

The four witnesses alleged that they had assessed entire properties of the Badals, as directed by the bureau. “Instead of putting our reports on record, the VB got same property assessed from own private assesses and we were made to sign the reports without even going through them,” said Garg.

They also alleged that Uppal and Virk had promised to show them the reports later, but that never happened. They maintained that they were asked to sign reports in the office of Virk and were under pressure to do as “directed”.

Garg added that his team had prepared rough notes of the assessment of property, 4 witnesses turn hostile in Badal case

which have not been included as evidence in the court. He also added that there were certain anomalies in the assessment report drafted by the private assesses or the VB itself.

Nanda said it would be incorrect to say that he signed the reports voluntarily, adding that team members were asserted of being allowed to go through reports later, but it never happened.

The court proceedings of evidences would continue on July 19 and 20 wherein witnesses will depose in the court.

Meanwhile, MP Sukhbir Badal was present during the entire proceedings. Later, after the lunchtime, he moved an application for tomorrow’s exemption as he has to vote for the presidential elections.

Talking to mediapersons, he said the SAD did not resort to the kind of vendetta politics the Congress had been exercising.



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