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HindustanTimes Tue,30 Sep 2014

Witnesses resiled under pressure, said senior cop in his appeal

Prabhjit Singh, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, August 10, 2014
First Published: 00:00 IST(10/8/2014) | Last Updated: 08:05 IST(10/8/2014)

Though not reaching any conclusion in the past around four years, the appeals filed by senior police officers ADGP BK Uppal and retired SSP Surinder Pal Singh in the Punjab and Haryana high court in December 2010 have a lot to say, as they face perjury charges for the crumbling of the disproportionate assets case against the Badals in October 2010.

The two senior cops, along with ADGP S Chattopadhyay, had been part of the investigation in the challan filed against Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal, the late Surinder Kaur Badal and others in 2003.

In October 2010, the Mohali district court had asked the state of Punjab to proceed against these officers for resiling as key witnesses, while acquitting the Badals in the case.

The police officers had filed their appeals in the high court for the stay, challenging the Mohali court order and also for quashing of the complaint against them that held them as accused on charges of perjury.

In his appeal for the stay on proceedings against him, Uppal not only had held his now retired colleague Surinder Pal Singh solely responsible for carrying out the investigations, but also raised doubts over the functioning of the public prosecutor in carrying out the prosecution of the case.

"It had to be determined whether it was the witnesses who had resiled on account of the obvious coercion/pressure of the present dispensation in Punjab or whether what the witnesses stated in court for the first time was trustworthy," Uppal had said in his appeal.

"Further, it was to be determined whether the public prosecutor had discharged his duties properly," he said.

Further hitting out at the prosecution, he said, "The order does not specify whether the alleged introduction of false witnesses and the alleged fabrication of the record was done in order to involve the accused (Badals) and have them convicted, or whether it was done for the acquittal of the accused…"

Uppal's appeal had said that the denial of Surinder Pal Singh, the investigation officer, contradicted his signatures on the record like the FIR and the challan.
 
Surinder Pal's appeal
Surinder Pal Singh, in his appeal, had said, "The order passed by the Mohali special judge is wrong on facts and is against law." He had argued that Uppal had a bigger role in the investigation and he had been telling him to sign the documents related to the investigation.

"Uppal had divided the investigation…and I have not investigated a single property (of the Badals) independently. The report was signed by me, I being seniormost among the SPs. The DIG had dictated it," Surinder Pal had said, adding that a special investigation team was formed under Uppal and then DIG S Chattopadhyay. He had maintained that his senior colleague Uppal only gave him the case diary for his signatures.

Both Uppal and Surinder Pal had argued that there was no preliminary inquiry held before the complaint was filed against them in the Mohali court to prosecute them for perjury charges.

S Chattopadhyay's appeal
The appeal by ADGP S Chattopadhyay, who was DIG at the time of his going abroad  to probe the Badals' assets in 2003, had argued for quashing his name from the complaint as he was just given the overseas task and had returned with proper information, which was submitted to the VB office.

Chattopadhyay had said that he had written two case diaries regarding his findings abroad and had directed the IO (Surinder Pal) to conduct "further investigation". "I submitted the details to the IO for filing the application in the trial court," Chattopadhyay said.

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