A local court on Friday acquitted Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, his wife Surinder Kaur Badal and son and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and eight others in a corruption case.
Additional District and Sessions Judge R.K. Aggarwal acquitted 11 of the 15 accused, saying no “incriminating evidence against any of the accused was available on the basis of which they could be questioned under Section 313 [power to examine the accused] of the Cr.PC.”
Mr. Parkash Singh Badal and Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal were present in the court complex when the judgment was delivered. “I am happy at this judgment. No politician wants a taint of false cases on him ...It was nothing more than political vendetta, which is why the case fell flat,” Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal said.
The case was registered by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau under Sections 420/467/468/471/120(B) of the IPC in 2003 when Amarinder Singh of the Congress was in power.
Value of assets
The vigilance probe initially accused the Badal family of amassing assets worth more than Rs.3,000 crore. However, in the charge sheet, the family's assets were valued at over Rs.78 crore.
The court also ordered that perjury proceedings be initiated against two senior IPS officers — investigating officer Surinder Pal Singh; and Supervising Officer B.K. Uppal — for giving contrary statements, but none took the responsibility for giving the order for investigation and preparation of challan against the Badal family.
Kanwaljit Singh Sidhu, Hardeep Singh, Pinky Grover and Krishan Kumar were declared proclaimed offenders in the case.
Soon after the verdict, Mr. Parkash Singh Badal announced the withdrawal of the cases he had filed against his political rival, Amarinder Singh.
After attending the court proceedings, Mr. Badal reached the Vidhan Sabha; and in an unprecedented act, he promised to withdraw all cases he had filed against Capt. Singh. “Let's not sling mud anymore, and I fold my hands and apologise to Capt. Amarinder Singh for the pain I might have caused him. Let's put an end to the tradition of vendetta politics.”
“I am announcing that I will withdraw the two cases that I have filed against Capt. Amarinder Singh. One is a case of defamation, in which I demanded a compensation of Rs.5 crore, and the other is a criminal case.”