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Ludhiana court discharges Punjab CM, other accused in City Centre case

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Press Trust of India Ludhiana
A court here on Wednesday discharged Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and all other accused in the alleged Rs 1,140 crore Ludhiana City Centre scam that goes back to his first term as CM.
Sessions judge Gurbir Singh accepted the closure report presented by the state's vigilance bureau and discharged all the 31 accused, District Attorney Ravinder Abrol said.
The charges against us have been rejected, Amarinder Singh told reporters after the court order on the case that dates back to his 2002-2007 term as chief minister.
His son Raninder Singh and son-in-law Raminder Singh were also among the accused in the corruption case. Singh had faced allegations that he favoured a Delhi-based builder for executing the mega project.
We have faced this case for 13 years and the matter today has been finally decided in our favour, and the charges levied against us have been rejected, he said outside the court.
Truth has prevailed, with the court dismissing blatantly false & politically motivated charges against me & others accused in Ludhiana City Centre case, the CM later tweeted.
We had full faith in the law, and our stand has been vindicated. I thank Wahe Guru ji for this victory against victimisation, he added.
The project was announced by Amarinder Singh in 2003. The Ludhiana City Centre plan was rolled out in 2006.
Spread over 25 acres, the project was supposed to include shopping malls, residential apartments, 12 multiplexes and a helipad.
It was alleged that Delhi-based private company Today Homes was favoured, violating norms.
The Amarinder Singh-led Congress government marked the probe to the state's vigilance bureau in September 2006.
In 2007, after Akali Dal's Parkash Singh Badal took over as chief minister, the bureau registered an FIR against 36 people, including Amarinder Singh, under the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
On August 19, 2017, during Amarinder Singh's current term as CM, the vigilance bureau filed a closure report after conducting a reinvestigation. There is no proof or fact to substantiate any scam in the project," it said.
The reinvestigation found that Singh never had any ill-intention in the execution of the project".
Former Director General of Police Sumedh Singh Saini, the then Senior Superintendent of Police (Vigilance Bureau) Kanwarjit Singh Sandhu, MLA Simranjit Singh Bains and architect Sunil Kumar Dey challenged the closure report.
However, the court dismissed their pleas, saying they had no locus standi.
Of the 36 people initially accused, five died during the course of the proceedings.

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First Published: Nov 27 2019 | 8:15 PM IST

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