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Supreme Court dismisses plea against Amarinder


New Delhi : The Supreme Court Monday dismissed the Punjab government's petition challenging the interim bail given to former chief minister Amarinder Singh who allegedly misused his position to allot land to a private builder for a city centre project in Ludhiana.

A bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and P.P. Naolekar asked the state government to approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court, where Amarinder Singh's petition for anticipatory bail is pending for final disposal on July 4.

The bench said the high court had granted only interim bail and the state government should approach it to raise objections when Amarinder Singh's bail application is taken up.

The bench also directed the high court to decide Amarinder Singh's bail plea according to the Supreme Court's guidelines on the issue of granting anticipatory bail.

It said that courts should ensure that the high and mighty, involved in criminal offences, should not be able misuse the provisions of anticipatory bail to thwart the investigating agency's bid to subject an accused to custodial interrogation.

The bench also dismissed three similar petitions by the Punjab government challenging interim bail to other accused in the Ludhiana City Centre scam.

However, it deferred till next Monday the hearing on a similar petition against Amarinder Singh's son Raninder Singh, an accused in the same case, as notices had not yet been served to him.

On March 24, Punjab's vigilance bureau had registered a criminal case alleging that Amarinder Singh and various members of his family had received kickbacks in the Ludhiana City Centre case through a Delhi-based businessman Chetan Gupta.

The bureau has claimed that a pen drive and computer seized from Gupta revealed that Rs.210 million had been transferred to Raninder's account on the day an auction in the project was conducted.

Raninder Singh had been granted anticipatory bail by the high court on May 24. His mother Parneet Kaur, a Lok Sabha MP, who is not an accused in the case, also secured anticipatory bail last month.

Amarinder Singh and 18 others were booked by the bureau on March 24 for alleged corruption and cheating in connection with the real estate scam.