In a complete volte face in a politically significant case against former chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, the Punjab vigilance bureau (VB) has filed a cancellation report in the infamous Amritsar Improvement Trust (AIT) land scam.
The report, giving a clean chit to all 18 accused (of whom three have died), was submitted by the VB at a Mohali court on Friday. The VB, which had earlier filed a challan in the same court in 2009, indicting all accused, was reinvestigating the case on orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and was to submit its fresh findings to the trial court.
The move comes barely four months before the state goes to high-stake polls and has given fresh ammunition to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) against the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), and the Congress. A war of words has already erupted over the issue. AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal and party leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira said this was “proof enough” of Akalis’ collusion with the Congress, the latter dismissed Kejriwal’s charge as the “rant of a big liar”.
Amarinder has, held all along that the case against him was the result of political vendetta. The Badals, it was said, were paying Amarinder back (by getting him booked) for having registered cases against them when he was the chief minister from 2002-2007.