In its reply to the application filed by ex-SSP vigilance (Ludhiana) Kanwarjit Singh Sandhu in Rs 1,144-crore alleged Ludhiana city centre ‘scam’ in the sessions court here, the State of Punjab Thursday dismissed all allegations levelled by ex-SSP as “wild, baseless and politically motivated”. The public prosecutor, representing the Vigilance Bureau, also said in the reply that all allegations levelled by ex-SSP against Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and other accused were “politically motivated” and thus should be dismissed as it is “not maintainable being devoid of any merits”.
The next hearing in the case will be on August 3 when arguments will take place on ex-SSP’s petition. He has pleaded the court to hear him once before giving any decision on cancellation report filed by Vigilance Bureau giving a clean chit to Captain and the other accused. Replying to ex-SSP’s allegations that he was being “threatened” and coerced to accept cancellation report, state’s reply says, “The applicant has made vague allegations of pressure and threats… the applicant has served as a senior police officer who would have promptly lodged a report if any such untoward happening had taken place.”
On allegations of ex-SSP that Captain and Badals are hands in glove and cancelling the cases against each other, the reply says, “…Both are political rivals since long and this fact is well known to the petitioner. The investigating agencies have submitted independent outcome of their investigations for judicial scrutiny and orders.” The reply by state of Punjab further says that Lok Insaaf Party MLA (LIP) MLA Simarjit Singh Bains was behind the ex-SSP’s application as his own was dismissed by this court on February 3 this year.
It also says the applicant has no “locus standi” to become a party in the case. The state’s reply further says that “closure report in case was filed on August 7 last year. It is, therefore, strange that the applicant has woken up to take the present call after such a long period. Obviously, the application has been moved for extraneous reasons”.
Concluding that ex-SSP “has been dishonest in his activities from the very beginning and concealed the truth from the court at the time of presentation of the challan or he intends to mislead the court”, the state submitted in the court that this application should be “dismissed”.
On July 17, Sandhu, who was the complainant and investigating officer in the case, submitted a petition in the trial court alleging he was being forced to change his stand in favour of Captain Amarinder Singh and other accused.
Meanwhile, defence counsel representing Captain, his son Raninder Singh and the other accused, did not file any reply to ex-SSP’s application Thursday. Gurmukh Singh, Captain’s counsel, said, “We recorded our statement that we do not want to file any separate reply as State is already doing so. We agree to their reply on baseless allegations levelled by ex-SSP.”
The case dates back to 2005-06 when a private company, Today Homes, was allegedly given undue benefits of Rs 1,144 crore for construction of Ludhiana City Centre, a project undertaken during Captain’s earlier tenure as Punjab CM. The proposal was to build malls, multiplex, helipad, residential towers etc way back in 2005-06. In FIR filed in March 2007 when SAD-BJP came to power, Captain Amarinder Singh, his son Raninder Singh and 30 other accused are booked for cheating, criminal breach of trust, forgery under several sections of IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA).
In August 2017, months after Congress returned to power in Punjab, the Vigilance Bureau, overturning its own earlier inquiry report, submitted a cancellation report giving a clean chit to all accused saying there was “no scam at all”.