The Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday suspended senior SAD leader and former Punjab minister Sucha Singh Langah's conviction in disproportionate assets case in which he has been awarded a three-year sentence by a lower court.
Langah had moved the high court on March 4, terming the trial court order as erroneous, unsustainable and against the facts.
During the resumed hearing on Monday, the bench of justice Paramjeet Singh suspended the lower court order impending a decision on the appeal filed by Langah and allowed him bail. Langah was the public works minister in the Parkash Singh Badal-led SAD-BJP government (1997-2002).
Mohali additional district and sessions judge had sentenced him to three years in the `13-crore disproportionate assets case and imposed a fine of Rs 1 crore. The court had also awarded a three-year sentence to Amrik Singh Mohali. Mohali too had been given similar relief.
The lower court also attached 16 of his prime properties. The state vigilance bureau had registered the FIR against 11 people, including Langah, in May 2002, under the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
In his appeal, Langah has said that the prosecution had failed to prove its case and the conviction was based merely on probabilities and presumptions and not on evidence.
He had also submitted that none of the witnesses had supported the case of the prosecution; on the contrary, it was found that the investigation was vitiated and also various material prosecution witnesses had categorically stated before the trial court that their statements were never recorded by any of the investigating officers.
The petitioner had also submitted that there was no evidence proving that the appellant had bought any benami property, in the name of other accused in conspiracy with them or had accepted illegal gratification.