Badal duo avoids court appearance

Badal duo avoids court appearance

CM, son demand their statements be recorded elsewhere

Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal have cited “security reasons” for being unable to appear before a court here.

The father-son duo has been dragged to court by a former Punjab government officer who filed a defamation and recovery suit against them 12 years ago in 2001.

The Badals, who have been in power in Punjab since 2007, are demanding that their statements be recorded outside the district courts complex here due to security reasons.

The latest hearing of the case, held this week in the court here, was adjourned till May 28 after Badals’ lawyers said that they had challenged an earlier court order in Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The local court had earlier dismissed an appeal by the Badals for recording their statements outside the district court here through a local commissioner. The Badals have challenged this court order.

The officer, Jagdip Singh Chowhan, has claimed in his suit that he had spent Rs 2.32 lakhs from his pocket during the two Lok Sabha elections in 1998 and 1999 and a by-election in 1999 that Sukhbir Badal had contested.

He claimed that Parkash Singh Badal, who was then the chief minister (1997-2002), had directed him to carry out the work, including issuing advertisements in newspapers and arranging hospitality for mediapersons, during the elections. None of this was part of his official duties.

Chowhan, a former additional director of the Information and Public Relations Department, has filed a recovery suit of only Rs.82,000.

He claims he has not sought the recovery of the entire Rs 2.32 lakh keeping in mind the court fee to be first deposited.

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