The court of judicial magistrate (first class) Satish Kumar here on Saturday acquitted Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal in a case of poll violence registered against him in June 2006.
Sukhbir personally appeared in the court for the hearing. Addressing the media later, his counsel Shivkartar Singh Sekhon said, “The court has acquitted Sukhbir as the prosecution failed to prove the charges framed under Sections 392 (robbery), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 307 (attempt to murder) of the IPC.”
The alleged poll violence took place in Kotkapura in 1999 when Sukhbir had contested the parliamentary elections from Faridkot. The case against Sukhbir and others was registered on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana high court in 2006 after Naresh Kumar Sehgal, a Kotkapura journalist, had approached the court.
The Kotkapura police in June 2006 registered the case at the City police station under Sections 307, 392, 323, 327 (voluntarily causing hurt to extort property), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC. According to the FIR, Sukhbir had allegedly snatched Sehgal’s camera and slapped him.
The high court had stayed the proceedings in the case in 2008; the stay was vacated by a single-judge bench of the high court on December 21, 2015.
After Saturday’s verdict, Sehgal said he was not allowed to enter the courtroom during the hearing. He said he would file an appeal in the sessions court.
Timeline of the case
1999: Journalist Naresh Kumar Sehgal alleges that Sukhbir snatched his camera and slapped him
2006: HC directs police to register a case; in June, Kotkapura police register a case against Sukhbir, others
2008: High court stays proceedings in the case
2015: In December, HC single-judge bench vacates the stay
2016: Hearing resumes in January; Sukhbir acquitted on April 2