Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal heaved a sigh of relief when a court in Faridkot discharged him in a 10-year-old criminal assault case.
Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate D S Johal on Saturday dropped the assault charges against Sukhbir and BJP leader Raj Kumar Lahoria, levelled by a Chandigarh based photographer Ajay Verma and a reporter Naresh Kumar during the Lok Sabha polls at Kotkapura town of Faridkot on September 5, 1999.
The court summoned complainant Ajay Verma to hear his objection on the cancellation report, but he did not oppose it. The court then accepted the report moved by the state government and relieved Sukhbir and Lahoria.
The case was registered against Sukhbir and the BJP leader on direction of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in May 2006, after Verma approached the court accusing the state of not taking any action against them.
After the FIR was registered, a number of inquiries were conducted by the state police in the last two years, which gave Sukhbir a clean chit.
This made the state government to move the cancellation report before the court.
Ajay Verma in his complaint levelled allegations against Sukhbir, Lahoria, then SSP Faridkot Amardeep Singh Rai, Balbir Singh then SP(D) and also then Markfed District Chief Jagdish Walia.
Earlier, in 2007, Punjab Government constituted a scrutiny committee consisting of Deputy Commissioner, SSP and District Attorney to examine the allegations against them.
The committee opined that the case was registered due to political vendetta.