The Punjab vigilance bureau (VB) has said that Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Capt Amarinder Singh has sought transfer of the trial in the 2008 Amritsar Improvement Trust case outside the state after three-and-a-half years of presenting of the challan in the SAS Nagar trial court just to delay and avoid the trial.
The VB informed the Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday during resumed hearing of the case that the FIR was registered on September 11, 2008, and on completion of the investigation, the challan was presented in the SAS Nagar trial court on February 10, 2009. The petitioner (Amarinder) never made any allegations earlier regarding fairness of the trial or against the prosecution, and the petition seeking transfer of the case outside the state is "highly belated" and "an afterthought to delay" the trial, the VB said.
The VB had registered the case under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including those pertaining to forgery and cheating, and the Prevention of Corruption Act following a report of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha committee that had indicted several persons, including Amarinder, for having caused a loss of about Rs. 130 crore to the state.
In his reply, Mohinder Singh, deputy superintendent of police, state VB, submitted that the petitioner had not placed any material on record which would lead to an inference of reasonable apprehension of bias and not getting a fair trial in the state.
The officer also submitted that the petitioner was "casting aspersions on the learned trial court" and had filed the petition with an "ulterior motive to delay the ongoing judicial process." It was also submitted that the investigation conducted by the VB was independent of and not limited to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha's report.
The case is pending in the special court of SAS Nagar for framing of charges against alleged accused Capt Amarinder Singh; former local bodies minister Ch Jagjit Singh; former chairman of Amritsar Improvement Trust Jugal Kishore Sharma, former secretary of Punjab Vidhan Sabha Nachhattar Singh Mavi and 12 others.
Amarinder had submitted before the high court that the public prosecutor was functioning directly under the administrative command of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who heads the home department. Since there is a political rivalry between him and the Badals, a fair trial of the case cannot be expected, the former CM had said.
The case would now come up for arguments on Friday.