Clean chit for Bali in birthday bash inquiry

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Shimla, Oct 16 (UNI) A judicial inquiry has exonerated former Himachal Pradesh tourism minister G S Bali of any wrongdoing during his birthday party in Kangra district of the state.

In its report submitted to the state government recently, former Allahabad High Court Judge O P Garg said the minister has done nothing in the party that could be termed as objectionable and indecent.

''No blame can be put on Mr Bali, whose innocence has been fully established in the inquiry,'' he said in his report.

A sting operation by a private news channel had claimed the scalp for the former tourism minister who was shown present at an ''indecent party'' organized by his friends to celebrate his birthday on July 26 at Dharamshala in Kangra district of the state.

The judicial inquiry, on the other hand, indicted the news channel for telecasting the clips, which were doctored and super imposed.

Suspecting that the sting operation was carried at the behest of a few people, the report raised serious questions on whether any larger public interest was served in the sting operation and its telecast.

The inquiry lamented at the role of the news channel for relaying selective footage of the party and said it was nothing short of criminal dishonesty.

It also rejected the news channel's contention that the person shown dancing with the bar girls was not the minister but someone else.

Meanwhile, official sources said the report has been forwarded to state's chief secretary Ravi Dhingra, who was in US with Chief Minister Virbahdra Singh to negotiate loans from the World Bank.

Reacting to the news that the judicial inquiry had exonerated him of all charges, Mr Bali said since he had nothing wrong, he was not worried.

UNI

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