SC directs trial court to adjourn Badal's statement recording

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New Delhi, May 14 (UNI) The Supreme Court today directed the trial court to adjourn the recording of the statement of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in disproportionate assets case till July 24, the date fixed by the apex court for final disposal of former state Chief Minister Amarinder Singh's petition seeking transfer of the case to Delhi.

A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices R V Raveendran and M K Sharma issued the direction after hearing counsel for the petitioner T Andhyarjuna who contended before the apex court that most of the prosecution witnesses examined so far, including the SP (complainant in the case) and DIG in charge of the investigation, have turned hostile due to intimidating atmosphere created by Akali Dal government in the court room.

In view of the intimidating atmosphere created in the court room at Ropar, free and fair trial is not possible as per the contention of the petitioners, he said.

He also contended that out of 136 prosecution witnesses, 30 have been examined while remaining witnesses have been dropped by the prosecution. He said the trial was galloping and if it is allowed to happen, the trial may be over before the next date of hearing of the transfer petition pending before this court.

Parkash Singh Badal and his family members are facing trial for acquiring assets worth over Rs 3,500 crores, allegedly through corrupt means by misusing their status as public servants.

The apex court also directed the state to supply the copies of all the staements of the prosecution witnesses recorded by the trial court till date along with the copies of all the orders passed by the trial court.

With today's directions of the apex court, the trial in the case has virtually been stayed till the final disposal of the final petition.

Parkash Singh Badal, his son Sukhbir Singh Badal were to be examined by the trial court under section 313 CrPC (code of criminal procedure).

UNI SC SLD RP HT1622

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