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Exemption given as per rules: Court on clean chit to Capt Amarinder in Amritsar improvement trust case

The court had given clean chit to Amarinder Singh and 17 others after accepting the closure report in a case registered by VB in 2008.

punjab Updated: Aug 04, 2018 10:05 IST
Shailee Dogra
Shailee Dogra
Hindustan Times, Mohali
Amritsar improvement trust case,Captain Amarinder Singh,punjab
Captain Amarinder Singh(HT File )

The Punjab government then headed by Captain Amarinder Singh had power to exempt 32 acre land in the Amritsar Improvement trust (AIT) case and there are documents on record to show that it was done as per policy, a Mohali court has ruled while accepting the closure report filed by the state vigilance bureau (VB).

It was on Thursday that the court had given clean chit to Amarinder Singh and 17 others after accepting the closure report in a case registered by VB in 2008.

The case was registered on the recommendation of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, alleging a scam in granting exemptions for the transfer of 32-acre land belonging to AIT to a private realtor.

The court said the challan filed by VB was not based on record and was “influenced” by a special committee of MLAs headed by Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)’s Harish Rai Dhanda and formed during the tenure of Parkash Singh Badal. The committee had also ordered suspension of Amarinder as MLA.

“During further investigation, nothing incriminating was found against the accused. There is nothing on record which may establish that the land in question was illegally exempted. Rather there are a plethora of documents on record which clearly show that the land in question was exempted as per the policy dated July 23, 1998, and instructions dated December 17, 2004,” special court (vigilance) of Jaswinder Singh said in the judgment referring to February 10, 2009 challan filed by VB.

The court also concluded that there is no evidence that the proceedings of the Vidhan Sabha dated March 1, 2006 or agenda dated Oct 3, 2005 of Improvement trust Amritsar were forged.

‘Govt had power to exempt land’

The court found that in the challan filed by VB there is no reference to policy dated July 23, 1998 and the investigations were mainly based on the earlier policy of the year 1976. “In view of the above policy as well as subsequent instructions dated December 17, 2004, Veer colonisers (the realtor) were duly entitled to get the land in question exempted and the government was also duly competent to do so,” the judgment says.

No forgery of agenda of AIT Oct 3, 2005

The court found that there was no forgery in the AIT agenda and resolution dated October 7, 2005 and was passed with the consent of trustees who were present in the meeting. Trust was duly competent to pass the resolution. The same agenda was presented before the trust and duly cleared by the members, the court says.

Insertion made in assembly records to put ‘record straight’

“If the house agrees” in the complaint to VB were added by the then speaker Kewal Krishan to put the record straight because the speaker himself was not competent to constitute the committee of the house unless the house agreed for the same.

There is nothing on record that proves “If house agrees” were added by the speaker with an intention to tamper the record of Punjab Vidhan Sabha. The above words were added to put the record straight as house had not passed resolution in this regard. Hence there is no question of tampering of the record of Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

‘Allegations of graft baseless’

Then MLA Bir Devinder Singh had raised the matter in the assembly alleging that exemption was granted for exchange of money. “There is not even an iota of proof of any payment by any persons to accused for exemption of land….. Merely allegations of payment of graft were made in earlier challan but no evidence was attached. The allegations are vague and baseless,” the court said.

First Published: Aug 04, 2018 10:04 IST