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Congress councillor Babla breaks down in court, says it’s a political vendetta

He pleaded the judge for leniency, claiming how he was a victim of political rivalry and bureaucracy.

punjab Updated: Mar 31, 2018 22:29 IST
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh

Congress councillor and leader of opposition in the Chandigarh municipal corporation (MC) Devinder Singh Babla broke down in court on Saturday during arguments on his quantum of sentence in a 2009-cheating case pertaining to allotment of platforms at the Sector-26 grain market, wherein he was held guilty earlier this week.

He pleaded the judge for leniency, claiming how he was a victim of political rivalry and bureaucracy.

“I never had any power to allot sheds and such directions came from top officers such as deputy commissioner. You can confirm about this from the UT administration,” he told the judge, and added that he was falsely implicated after he rose his voice against certain issues.

Tearful Babla said his rivals had slapped three cases on him and if this was a trick to woo voters, he wouldn’t have lost elections the same year.

Pointing in direction of his aged father and two sons, he claimed to be a man of integrity and rued how a harsh sentence could ruin his political career and impact his family.

Babla, who was elected as a councillor in 2016 and had become the direct market committee chief in 2015, pointed out how he was earlier released on probation and had even challenged that claiming he had not done anything wrong.

Meanwhile, defence counsel AS Sukhija moved an application claiming that as per Section 386 of the CrPC, the appellate court could not inflict more punishment than what the trial court could award. During arguments for awarding sentence, the defence counsel said court may keep in mind that the convict was released on probation for a period of one year, further adding that nothing new had emerged to block the release of the convict on probation.

Reference was also made in the application to a few high court judgments in this regard. It was also mentioned that Babla had already undergone imprisonment for a period of four months and three days.

Lastly, the application also stated that convict’s wife was also an MC councillor earlier and that he himself enjoyed good reputation in city.

A large number of supporters, including former Congress councillors, were also present during the hearing besides former senior deputy mayor Bhupinder Singh Bhaderi and ex-deputy mayor HS Lucky.

  • August 2009: Devinder Singh Babla, then chairperson of the market committee, booked for irregularities in allotment of 69 platforms at the Sector-26 grain market
  • December 2009: Babla surrenders in court
  • February 2010: UT police’s special investigation team’s chargesheet accuses him of cheating, forgery
  • April 2011: Key witness turns hostile
  • July 2014: Lower court convicts Babla of forgery, acquits him of cheating, releases him on a year’s probation
  • March 2018: Additional district and sessions judge accepts prosecution’s appeal, holds Babla guilty of cheating too; pronouncement of sentence on April 2.

First Published: Mar 31, 2018 22:28 IST