Amritsar, September 22
The fast-track court of Additional Sessions Judge Randhir Verma rejected the bail application of former deputy chief minister and senior Congress leader OP Soni in disproportionate assets case registered against him by the
Vigilance Bureau (VB) in July this year. He was arrested by the VB on July 10 after eight-month-long investigations.
In its order passed on Thursday, the court pointed out that in the present case it cannot be said that the accusations against Soni were prime facie wholly false, frivolous or vexatious in nature, so as to justify grant of bail. It further read that no doubt, the investigation is complete as challan has been presented but there are serious allegations against the accused while material witnesses are yet to be examined.
Additional Sessions Judge Randhir Verma (in the order) said the possibility of attempt to tamper with the evidence or try to win over the witnesses in order to weaken the case of prosecution by the accused cannot be ruled out and this would not be conducive to the interests of the justice to grant bail to the applicant as it is likely to hamper a proper investigations/trial into the present case. Accordingly, the present bail application is dismissed, it said.
He is currently in judicial custody at Amritsar Central Jail.
The Vigilance Bureau had booked Soni under Sections 13 (1) (b) and 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act at VB police station, Amritsar Range, following investigation into the inquiry, which was ordered on October 10, 2022.
During check period from April 1, 2016, to March 31, 2022, the income of the former Deputy CM and his family was Rs 4.52 crore while expenditure was Rs 12.48 crore, which was Rs 7.96 crore or 176.08 per cent more than his known sources of income. During this period, OP Soni had bought properties in the name of his wife Suman Soni and son Raghav Soni, he added.
According to the VB, after the registration of an FIR, during the course of investigations, it was found that the expenditure incurred by the applicant/accused during check period April 2016 to March 2022 is more than previously assessed amount of Rs 12.48 crore and it was found to be 208 per cent in excess of his income from legitimate sources. During the probe, it was found that his family members have formed companies Olive International Pvt Ltd and Dream Weavers Pvt Ltd by investing huge amount and they are directors of the said companies.
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