Hours before counting for the Punjab assembly elections, the Faridkot police moved an application in a local court to quash the case registered against Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on the charge of assaulting a journalist in 1999.
The case was registered in 2006 at the Faridkot city police station under sections 392 and 327 of the IPC on the instructions of the Punjab and Haryana high court. A vernacular journalist had allegedly been beaten up on September 5, 1999, in public view and his camera snatched.
The incident was reported during the parliamentary elections, when Sukhbir was contesting as the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) candidate from Faridkot. The SAD-BJP alliance was in power in Punjab at that time.
As per the police, there is no evidence available against the deputy CM to prosecute him in the case.
"The high court had stayed proceedings of the case in 2009. It will be not appropriate to comment on the issue," said Faridkot SSP Gurcharan Singh Chauhan.
When asked about the timing of the application, the SSP said there was no connection between the development and Tuesday's counting.
The local court has deferred proceedings of the case against Sukhbir till March 17. The date coincides with the date of hearing of a case against Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh in the Bathinda court.
The Bathinda police had triggered a controversy by moving an application in the court to quash the case against the dera head just three days before the voting day (January 30). The case pertains to a complaint about hurting Sikh sentiments.