In a setback to Bharat Inder Singh Chahal, former media adviser to Captain Amarinder Singh, a local court has framed charges against him and other family members in a disproportionate assets case registered against him by Punjab vigilance bureau (VB).
Rejecting the vigilance bureau report, which had given clean chit to Chahal's wife Jaswinder Kaur in the case registered in 2007, the court also framed charges against her and Chahal's son Bikramjit Singh.
Chahal is the main accused in the case in which the names of his son and others also figure.
The clean chit to Jaswinder was given on the basis of the inquiry conducted by Rajinder Pal Singh, joint director (crime), VB, Chandigarh. The VB had also given clean chit to Dr Parveen Kumar, a co-accused in the case. However, the court rejected the report of the bureau.
The court of additional district and sessions judge Jatinder Kaur, framed charges under the Prevention of Corruption Court and 120 (B) IPC against all the seven accused, who were present in the court.
The challan against Chahal and family members was presented in 2008, in which the prosecution claimed that, during his tenure as the media adviser to the former CM, Chahal had amassed assets worth more than Rs 10 crore, whereas his total income during that period was around Rs 1.87 crore.
The VB also named 10 other accused in the case registered under sections 8, 9, 13 (1 DE), 14 and 288 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 120-B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Chahal's son Bikramjit Singh; Surjit Singh and Bhupinder Singh of Barsat village (Patiala district), Gursharan Singh and Jasbir Singh of Kamalpur village (Ludhiana district); US-based Gurmit Singh; and Jaswinder Pal Singh of Delhi are the other accused.
The VB had registered a disproportionate assets case against Chahal on July 11, 2007, a few months after the Akali-BJP alliance had regained power in Punjab. There are more than 109 witnesses in the case.
Ironically, the Supreme Court has directed the local court to complete the trail in next six months.