M A I N   N E W S

Stay not yet, HC to Capt
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 11
A day after he was indicted by the Vidhan Sabha’s Special Committee, Punjab’s former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh today moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court, but did not get relief.

A Division Bench of the High Court expressed disinclination to stay at this juncture the Vidhan Sabha resolution vide which he had been expelled for the remaining term for his alleged involvement in the Amritsar Improvement Trust land exemption case.

The Bench adjourned the hearing on his petition till Friday without issuing notices to the state and other respondents.

As his petition, challenging the constitution of the special committee and subsequent developments, came up for hearing, the Bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Ajay Tewari questioned his counsel on the urgency being shown in the matter.

The Bench also wanted to know if expulsion was not the prerogative of the House.

The arguments that ensued made it apparent that the thrust was to throw a challenge to the resolution holding the petitioner guilty and asking the state Vigilance Bureau to register an FIR in the matter before subjecting him to custodial interrogation.

Counsel for the petitioner argued that such directions could not be issued by the legislature. Elaborating, he said under the separation of powers the judiciary alone could hold a person guilty of offence.

The legislature could only record the finding of guilt in case of contempt or breach of privilege of the House. Even in case of an offence taking place within the House, the jurisdiction was a matter of debate.

In any case, it could not record the finding of guilt. Such an action amounted to complete takeover of the functions of the judiciary, he asserted.

Claiming that the former chief minister would be put to disadvantage because of the findings and the directions, he said asking the VB to register an FIR would be taken with extreme deference.

As such, he would be denied fair opportunity before the regular court. Assailing the Special Committee’s recommendations of subjecting Capt Amarinder Singh to custodial interrogation, he said it was only for the police to say if this was required.

The apex court had found such directions even from the high court unacceptable.

In his petition, Capt Amarinder Singh, describing the Special Committee as “illegal”, had asked that the same be quashed. He had also sought directions for staying the operation of the resolution during the pendency of the petition.

Plea travelled from court to court

Filed this morning, the writ petition was fixed for hearing today. It was initially placed before the Bench of Justice Hement Gupta and Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia, but was referred to another Bench.

The matter was brought to the notice of Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and was directed to be placed before the Bench of Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice Nirmaljit Kaur.

After Justice Nirmaljit Kaur expressed her disinclination to hear the matter because of her stint in the advocate-general’s office during Capt Amarinder Singh’s regime, it was referred back to the Chief Justice. Finally, it came up for hearing before Justice Goel’s Bench.




VB registers FIR against him, 6 others
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 11
Punjab Vigilance Bureau today, on the directions of the Vidhan Sabha, registered an FIR against former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and six others by name, leaving scope for more inclusions at a later stage of investigation. The named include former local bodies minister Chaudhary Jagjit Singh.

The Vigilance Bureau has been asked by the Vidhan Sabha to conduct custodial interrogation of Amarinder Singh and others after a Special House Committee found them guilty of exempting 32.10 acres acquired by Amritsar Improvement Trust.

Director Vigilance Bureau, Sumedh Saini confirmed the case was registered at the Vigilance police station; Mohali under Sections 120B, 420, 467, 468, 471 of the IPC and Section 7 and Sections 13 (1), (c), (d) read with 13 (2) under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1998.

It is learnt senior Vigilance Bureau officers prepared a draft of the FIR after studying the Special Committee Report and later sent it for registration as an FIR. Apart from Amarinder and Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, other named as accused are Jugal Kishore Sharma, the then chairman of Amritsar Improvement Trust, Tara Singh Mavi, former secretary of Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Tara Singh a former employee of the Vidhan Sabha, Subhash Chander and Vicky Sharma promoters of Vir Enclave.

Vigilance sources said there was no plan to arrest Amarinder Singh. “Arrest if any will be made on the basis of investigation. During investigation many people are questioned, these may include former officials, officers or even others in the CMO”.

In a direction to the Vigilance Bureau, the Vidhan Sabha has said, “Since the Vidhan Sabha has no sources to investigate on its own and cannot find out where the guilty have kept ill-gotten money and how the same was distributed among themselves, custodial interrogation of the accused is essential to reveal all this.

For this the director vigilance is directed to register an FIR and investigate the matter. The director vigilance is further directed to submit a report to the speaker Vidhan Sabhain two months”.

It is further learnt the Vigilance has already alerted its officers to keep a close watch on the whereabouts of the accused, just in case they are required to be interrogated. Both Amarinder Singh and Chaudhary Jagjit have some protection against arrest from competent courts.

The Vidhan Sabha had in an earlier finding held both Mavi and Tara Singh guilty of tampering with the Vidhan Sabha record of the previous Vidhan Sabha (12th). This record pertained to the decision of the House to form a House committee to probe the exemption of the 32.10-acres. But the Vidhan Sabha employees allegedly removed the minutes pertaining to the formation of this committee as a result of which the committee was never constituted. Chaudhary Jagjit Singh was said to be behind this.

The VB has sent a compliance report on the direction of the Vidhan Sabha to chief secretary R.I Singh, who is also secretary vigilance.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |