Badal, family acquitted in seven-year-old corruption case

In a reprieve for Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, a local court acquitted him along with his wife, son and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir and eight others in a seven-year-old corruption and disproportionate assets case.

Last Updated: Oct 01, 2010, 13:39 PM IST

Mohali: In a reprieve for Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, a local court here on Friday acquitted him along with his wife, son and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir and eight others in a seven-year-old corruption and disproportionate assets case.

The case was filed against them during the Amarinder Singh-led Congress regime.

Additional District and Sessions Judge RK Aggarwal acquitted 11 of the 15 accused, saying no incriminating evidence against any of the accused was available following
which they could be questioned under section 313 (power to examine the accused) of the CrPC.

The court also ordered that perjury proceedings be initiated against two senior IPS officers Surinder Pal Singh and BK Uppal, who were the Investigating Officer and the
Supervisory Officer of the case in which the chargesheet was filed on November 22, 2003 against 15 accused.

Four of the accused Kanwaljit Singh Sidhu, Hardeep Singh, Pinky Grover and Krishan Kumar were declared Proclaimed Offenders (POs).

The Judge also ordered all the accused to furnish personal bonds of Rs 50,000 each and a surety bond of the like amount before the court so that in case any aggrieved party
approaches the higher court to challenge this judgment the accused persons will produce themselves before that higher court.

The father-son duo and eight other accused were present in the court when the order was pronounced. Badal`s wife Surinder Kaur was not present as she had been earlier
granted permanent exemption from appearance.

Speaking to reporters outside the court, Sukhbir said the case was a result of political vendetta and "we have got justice from the court".

The court ordered that a criminal complaint against the two IPS officers Surinder Pal Singh and Uppal under the relevant sections of IPC be lodged before a competent court.
It also directed the Additional Public Prosecutor to submit the draft of the complaint before this court for vetting it prior to filing of the complaint before the
competent court.

The case against the 15 people was filed by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau on November 22, 2003. The bureau had pegged the properties owned by the Badals at Rs 4,326 crore.

Amarinder, in his campaign in the run up to the elections in 2002, had alleged that the Badals had amassed assets disproportionate to their known sources of income and
the SAD leaders would be booked if the Congress came to power.

The case was registered following investigations conducted by Surinderpal Singh, an SP in the Vigilance Bureau and supervised by Uppal, who was then DIG in the Bureau.

The other accused included Narottam Singh Dhillon, Harbans Lal and Jagnandan Singh - all stated to be close associates of the Badal family.

Amongst the Proclaimed Offenders Hardeep Singh was Officer on Special Duty to Parkash Sing Badal.

The challan in this case was filed under various sections of the IPC.

According to the challan, the estimated total market value of the assets in 2003 and those still under investigations by the Vigilance Bureau is Rs.4326 crore. This included inland assets worth Rs. 501 crore and indicated overseas properties valued at Rs.3825 Crore.

The case was registered on the basis of an application supported by an affidavit filed by Balwant Singh, a resident of village Dhalewan in Mansa district, which was submitted to
Amarinder Singh who directed the Chief Director Vigilance Bureau Punjab at Chandigarh to investigate and report.

Later the case was registered at Police Station (Vigilance Bureau) Flying Squad-1, Punjab at Mohali. The complainant had alleged that Parkash Singh Badal in collusion
with members of his family and his personal friends amassed huge wealth in an illegal manner during the years 1997-2002 when he was chief minister.

PTI