Capt gets clean chit in City Centre scam
Ludhiana, November 27
A sessions court today gave a clean chit to Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and 30 others in the 12-year-old City Centre scam case involving Rs 1,144 crore. This was the only corruption case pending against the CM.
Sessions Judge Gurbir Singh accepted the closure report moved by the Vigilance Bureau in August 2017 and absolved the accused of graft charge.
In its order, the court observed no case of corruption was made out against any of the accused prima facie. Former chairman of Ludhiana Improvement Trust Paramjit Singh Sibia (since deceased) also did not indulge in corruption though he might be accused of disobeying his senior’s orders, it held. The alleged recovery of Rs 40 lakh shown from LIT’s former executive officer DC Garg could not be proved as bribe money, nor could the properties purchased by the CM or his family in their name be held as benami, the court observed.
“There isn’t an iota of evidence against any accused. No evidence of bribe or forgery. So, the closure report is accepted and all discharged,” said the judge.
Calling it a victory over “brazen act of political victimisation” by the then SAD-BJP regime, Captain Amarinder said: “The truth has prevailed and our stand against politically motivated charges has been vindicated.”
Talking to mediapersons outside the courtroom after the verdict, the CM said the manufactured lies presented as evidence before the court had no leg to stand on, and had been exposed as nothing but “shameless falsehoods”.
Capt Amarinder lamented the cost the victims, including former Additional Advocate General Harpreet Sandhu and ex-superintendent engineer Manmohan Singh who remained behind bars as they refused to become approvers, had to pay in the process while they waited for their names to be cleared.
Five of the 36 accused, including former minister Choudhary Jagjit Singh, died with the stigma of being involved in the scam, he pointed out, adding their families had finally got a closure.
Earlier, a trial court in Mohali had acquitted Capt Amarinder and 17 others in a 10-year-old corruption case involving a land transfer. The case was registered by the Vigilance on the recommendation of the Vidhan Sabha, alleging a scam in granting exemptions to transfer of 32.1 acre of the Amritsar Improvement Trust to a private realtor.