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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Hours after warrant, Bagga gets Punjab HC relief: No coercive action until May 10

This comes a day after an operation to arrest him pitted Punjab Police against their counterparts in Delhi and Haryana and led to a political slugfest between the BJP and AAP.

Written by Jagdeep Singh Deep , Jagpreet Singh Sandhu | Chandigarh, Mohali |
Updated: May 11, 2022 1:10:03 am
Celebrations as Tajinder Singh Bagga arrived at his home in New Delhi last Friday. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

HOURS AFTER a Mohali court issued a non-bailable warrant against him, Delhi BJP leader Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga was granted relief by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which held an urgent hearing late on Saturday night.

“The HC has granted relief to Bagga, and has ordered no coercive action shall be taken against him till the next hearing on May 10,” said Bagga’s counsel, Senior Advocate Anil Mehta, who filed the plea seeking a stay on the arrest warrant. Bagga’s petition seeking quashing of the FIR against him is listed for May 10.

Justice Anoop Chitkara of the Punjab and Haryana High Court held the hearing at his residence late on Saturday night.

“We are not executing the arrest warrant till May 10,” said Punjab Advocate General Anmol Rattan Sidhu. “It is on the concession by the state government. We told the court that there was no urgency to arrest him. Hence, we can wait till Tuesday,” said Sidhu.

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The court in its order said, “Given the statement  of the learned advocate general, Punjab, let the present application be listed along with the main case on May 10…and no coercive steps be taken against the petitioner till the next date.”

This came a day after an operation to arrest Bagga pitted the Punjab Police against their counterparts in Delhi and Haryana and led to a political slugfest between the BJP and AAP.

Earlier in the day, the Mohali court directed the police to arrest Bagga and produce him before it. “It is necessary in the interest of justice to issue non-bailable warrants for accused Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga, who is evading arrest, in order to facilitate the investigation,” the court of Judicial Magistrate (1st class) Ravtesh Inderjit Singh said, and posted the matter for May 23.

The warrant was issued in connection with a case registered against Bagga in Mohali on April 1, alleging inflammatory posts in the media and on Twitter. This is the same case in which he was arrested from his Delhi residence on Friday morning.

The court was also told that Bagga had been served five notices by the police but had failed to join the investigation.

In its order, the Mohali court said DSP, City-1, Mohali, Sukhnaaz Singh, informed the court that a petition to quash the FIR against Bagga was pending before the High Court for May 10. He told the court there is no stay on Bagga’s arrest nor has he filed any anticipatory bail application.

He also informed the court that a habeas corpus petition filed by the State of Punjab was pending before the High Court for May 10, which is connected with the FIR against Bagga.

Bagga was arrested from his Janakpuri residence in Delhi on Friday morning, but the journey to take him to Punjab was cut short with police in Haryana intercepting the Punjab Police convoy, the Delhi Police filing an FIR against Punjab personnel for abducting Bagga, and eventually managing to bring Bagga back from Kurukshetra to the national capital.

The Punjab Police told the court on Saturday that the investigating team arrested Bagga from his house, and intimated his father of the arrest. DSP Kuljinder Singh along with the police party went to Janakpuri police station to give necessary intimation, but no DDR (daily diary register) entry was made by the police station, the court was told.

“When police party was bringing accused, so as to be produced before the court at Mohali, the police party was stopped by Kurukshetra police and they took the police party to police station Thanesar Sadar. At about 2:30 pm, Parshant Gautam, IPS, Additional DCP-1, West New Delhi, came along with police force and got the accused released forcibly and illegally,” the Punjab Police told the court.

Regarding the happenings at Thanesar Sadar police station on Friday, the Punjab Police told the court that the DDR entry was recorded there.

The Punjab government filed a habeas corpus petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday afternoon, challenging the detention of its police officers in Haryana and Delhi. In their status reports, the two states denied any detention.

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The April 1 case against Bagga is based on a complaint by Dr Sunny Singh Ahluwalia, AAP Punjab spokesperson and party in-charge of Anandpur Sahib Lok Sabha constituency. The FIR quotes Ahluwalia as saying that comments made by Bagga in the media and on Twitter amounted to “criminal intimidation… to cause violence… imminent hurt to Arvind Kejriwal and other AAP leaders in a pre-designed, well planned, orchestrated manner”. Sections invoked against him include IPC 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups) and 506 (criminal intimidation).

While Punjab Police comes under the newly formed AAP government, Haryana Police is under the BJP government, and Delhi Police under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

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