A special court in Mohali on Tuesday examined four more witnesses as Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal,wife Surinder Badal and son Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal skipped the court hearing in a high-profile corruption and disproportionate assets case registered against them by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau in Mohali on June 24,2003.
While the father-son duo sought exemption from personal appearance due to official business preoccupation,Surinder Badal had already been granted permanent exemption from personal appearance in the case. Badals close relative Narottam Singh Dhillon and two other accused Harbans Lal and Darshan Singh also skipped the court and sought exemption on the ground of unavoidable reasons.
The court accepted the exemption pleas of all the accused absent for today while all other accused on bail except,who had been declared proclaimed offenders,were present with their counsels,said Public Prosecutor-cum-District Attorney Pradeep Mehta.
Special Judge J S Klar,while continuing the examination of 38 material witnesses after the prosecution and the defense counsels had tendered no incriminating evidence against the Badals or any other accused,examined two revenue patwaris Gurdev Singh (Balasar in Haryana) and Gurbhupinder Singh (Badal village in Punjab),Punjab National Bank,Kurali branch assistant manager Janadarsh Singh Dhanju and a resident of Kot Bhag village in Bathinda Rajwant Singh on their statement earlier recorded under Section 161 of the CrPC on July and August,2003.
Deposing before the court,both revenue officials and a bank official admitted their previous statements regarding land and bank records pertaining to the Badals. They confirmed that their statements were as per their respective official records,for which they stand.
However,in a major reprieve to the Badals and setback to the prosecution,Rajwant Singh categorically stated that he had not made any statement whatsoever was attributed to him on August 6,2003.
On being questioned on his alleged previous statement that Hardeep Singh,then Officer on Special Duty to then CM Parkash Singh Badal had demanded Rs 3 lakh each from him for the recruitment of his niece and nephew as clerks through Punjab Subordinate
Services Selection Board,court witness Rajwant Singh said neither any of his niece or nephew had applied for any such post nor he even knew or ever met any such person,following which no point of demanding any alleged bribe from him arise.
The court summoned seven more court witnesses for examination on October 26.
On September 14,two court witnesses were examined,of which one had not supported prosecution statement while another court witness was dropped for re-examination as he had earlier resiled.
On August 27,the court had ordered to summon 38 material witnesses under second part of Section 311 of the CrPC for proper adjudication of the case as their evidence was found essential.