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HindustanTimes Fri,22 Aug 2014

SFJ waging a public relations campaign, Badal's attorney

PTI  Washington, March 14, 2013
First Published: 14:43 IST(14/3/2013) | Last Updated: 14:45 IST(14/3/2013)

Attorney of Punjab chief minister Prakash Singh Badal has moved a motion in a US district court, seeking an order to protect the information of third-party witnesses in a pending lawsuit against the Akali Dal leader on alleged violation of human rights.

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Badal's attorney moved the motion in a Wisconsin court on Wednesday to issue an order to protecting the information of third-party witnesses from unfettered public disclosure, characterisation, and other attempts to harass and embarrass; and limiting Plaintiffs' discovery to the three narrow aspects s approved by the court at the February 21, hearing.

Such a move from the Badal's attorney comes two days after S Singh Kalra, an ex-director of World Sikh Council, testified before the court, whose testimony the attorney alleged has been erroneously being reported by Sikh for justice.

"Now, instead of addressing this matter through their lawyers in court, Plaintiffs are waging a public relations campaign to make it appear as if this case is something more than a simple case of mistaken service. Plaintiffs, in the name of their pursuit of the Defendant, feel free to tarnish Kalra erroneously and publicly," Badal's attorney told the court.

"Kalra should not be subject to such treatment. This is not what the discovery rules allow and this is not what the court contemplated at the conclusion of the February 21, 2013 hearing," it said.

"A protective order should be entered preventing further abuse of Kalra and any other third party witness.

Moreover, no discovery information should simply be uploaded to the Internet," the attorney said, alleging that the petitioner Sikh for Justice posted on the its website erroneous public description of Kalra's testimony.

"The account falsely claimed Mr Kalra had given a "confession" and "could not explain the purpose of his three-hour long meeting in a closed room in Pfister Hotel with high ranking Badal government officers immediately prior to testifying in Court." Badal is facing the lawsuit on the charges of custodial torture and shielding the police officers responsible for torture and continuous human rights violations against the Sikh community in Punjab.

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