In a major relief to former Punjab chief minister and senior Congress leader Amarinder Singh, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday stayed his custodial interrogation by the Punjab vigilance bureau in a multi-million-rupee land scam.
Admitting Amarinder Singh's petition challenging the Punjab assembly's decision to last week expel him for involvement in the land scam, the high court stayed his custodial interrogation.
Justices AK Goel and Ajay Tewari also issued a notice to the Punjab assembly to reply about the expulsion.
Amarinder Singh was on last Wednesday expelled from the assembly for the remaining three and a half year term after a house committee recommended this action. He, along with other officials, was found "guilty" by the committee of favouring a private builder in a multi-million-rupee land deal in Amritsar.
The former chief minister went to London last week after being expelled from the assembly.
The Punjab vigilance bureau had registered a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act and various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including forgery, fraud and conspiracy, against Amarinder Singh, former local bodies minister Jagjit Singh and five others in connection with the loss to the state in the Amritsar land deal.
The vigilance bureau was told to register a case by the assembly.
There were speculations that the vigilance officials could arrest him to question him regarding the deal but the high court stay will put a stop to that.
The ruling Akali Dal in Punjab was demanding Amarinder Singh's arrest and this is likely to be a major setback for the party, particularly Akali Dal president Sukhbir Badal.
Amarinder Singh, when he was Punjab chief minister (2002-07), had arrested present Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Badal in a corruption case.
Amarinder Singh had described his expulsion from the assembly, where he represented the Patiala assembly seat, as "undemocratic and unconstitutional".
He had vowed to fight the Akalis on this issue, especially in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.