A local court on Friday acquitted Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in a case of alleged illegal transfer of land belonging to Amritsar Improvement Trust to a private developer.

Additional Sessions Judge Jaswinder Singh read out the allegations and concluded by saying that the “court accepts the cancellation report”. The court also ordered the discharge of 14 other accused, including former Punjab Assembly Speaker Kewal Krishan, in the 10-year-old case.

The Vigilance Bureau had in October 2016 filed a cancellation report before the Mohali court and sought the discharge of all the 18 accused in the case. Three of the accused have died. “The case was politically motivated from the outset. As many as 500 hearings were held, which caused a lot of inconvenience not only to me but also the general public,” said Captain Amarinder.

Cancellation report

Referring to the former Akali Dal-BJP government, under whom the initial inquiry was initiated by a Vidhan Sabha committee, the CM said it was a case of “political vendetta”. “Such things [political vendetta] should not happen. It’s not healthy for democracy.”

On the cancellation report, Captain Amarinder pointed out that it was originally filed under the SAD-BJP regime, after the Vigilance Bureau reinvestigated the matter on court orders. “I had no role to play in the cancellation. It was done on merit,” he said.

At the centre of the allegations was a decision taken by the Urban Development and Housing Department during the previous tenure of the Captain Amarinder-led government (2002-2007) to grant a licence to a private developer. The Opposition had objected alleging that the exemption with respect to the 32 acres land of Amritsar Improvement Trust was not as per the government policy and had favoured an individual.

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