Headshoulder Ludhiana City Centre case: Verdict on closure report today; CM, son to be present in court
More than two years after the Punjab vigilance bureau filed a closure report in the Ludhiana City Centre case, the court of district and sessions judge Gurbir Singh will pronounce its verdict on Wednesday. All 32 accused, including Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, his son Raninder Singh, son-in-law Raminder Singh and 29 others, have been asked to appear in court at 3pm. The First-Information Report (FIR) was filed in March 2007.
According to the vigilance, Capt Amarinder Singh and 35 others caused the state exchequer a loss to the tune of ₹1,144 crore, by favouring a private builder during his previous term as the CM from 2002-2007, in the Ludhiana City Centre project that was rolled out in 2006. Four of the accused have died during trial.
Shopping malls, multiplexes, residential apartments and a helipad were planned as part of the 25-acre project that the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) was to develop. The project site on Pakhowal Road, Ludhiana, is currently in ruins.
CM’s media adviser Raveen Thukral confirmed that the CM will be coming to the Ludhiana court on Wednesday.
In its inquiry, the vigilance alleged that Amarinder, in connivance with LIT officials and others, favoured a private company, M/S Today Homes, and awarded it the contract by ‘tampering bids’. It was also alleged that the Congress party wanted funding of at least ₹100 crore from this project for the 2007 polls and, therefore, the then CM and others received this ‘bribe money’ from the owners of M/S Today Homes for awarding them the contract.
The vigilance probe added that LIT officials allegedly ‘tampered’ with the bids on the night of May 10-11, 2005, at Hotel Park Plaza, Ludhiana, where Today Homes representatives were also present. This was five days before bids were officially opened on May 17, 2005, it also claimed.
However, in 2017, the investigating agency took a U-turn in the case in the closure report, saying that all the allegations were fictitious.
Over the past two years, the hearing on the closure report has been marred by several petitions that have questioned the validity of the report, and have sought its dismissal.
Prominent among those who challenged the closure report included former Punjab DGP Sumedh Singh Saini; former vigilance SSP Kanwarjit Singh Sandhu; Atam Nagar MLA Simarjeet Singh Bains and architect for the city centre, SK Dey. All of them filed similar petitions seeking dismissal of the closure report, and wanting to submit additional evidence in the form of documents. However, the court dismissed their petitions on the grounds that they had no locus standi.
Floods have affected over 250,000 people in at least 1,400 villages across Odisha's 10 districts as heavy rainfall in the upper and lower catchment areas of the Mahanadi swelled the river and led to breaches in embankments, a top official said. Special relief commissioner P K Jena said around 24,000 hectares of farmland has been marooned. Over 700 boarders were rescued after their school in the Cuttack district was marooned.
The NCRTC established Regional Rapid Transit System - a rail-based, high-speed regional commuter transit system for Delhi-NCR, will also facilitate transportation of goods, Livehindustan reported. The first RRTS train set arrived at Duhai depot in June from its manufacturing unit in Savli in Gujarat. Delhi-Meerut Rapid Rail Line successfully conducted its first trial on August 7. Here's what we know about the transportation of goods via rapid rail in Delhi-NCR 1.
The India Meteorological Department on Wednesday said Delhi is “likely to witness generally cloudy sky with possibility of very light rain or drizzle” on Wednesday. On Tuesday, the average maximum temperature was recorded at 33.1C, which was one degree below the normal temperature around this time of the year. The minimum temperature on Tuesday was 24.6C, which was two degrees below the normal temperature at this time of the year.
Bengaluru's electricity board, the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited, has planned scheduled power outages in the city on August 17 and 18 to undertake maintenance and repair works. Multiple projects were delayed in the city in the midst of relentless rain, such as the shifting of overhead cables underground. Many similar works are underway, which are usually carried out between 10 am to 6 pm.
Aviation enthusiasts are in for a treat as the world's largest plane, the Airbus A380, will be touching down in Bengaluru's Kempegowda International Airport for the first time on October 30, thanks to Emirates. Bengaluru will be the second Indian city to enjoy the luxury flying experience with the signature double-decker aircraft after Mumbai. The Airbus A380 is known for its extra legroom and large screens across all cabins for in-flight entertainment.