Supreme Court asks CBI to prosecute Punjab Assembly speaker

November 27th, 2008 - 12:31 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 26 (IANS) The Supreme Court has ordered prosecution of Punjab Assembly Speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon for allegedly taking bribes as state minister between 1997 and 2002.A bench of Justice S.B. Sinha and Justice Aftab Alam ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to start prosecuting Kahlon in a verdict delivered Oct 22. The ruling, however, was released later.

The bench ordered prosecution of the speaker, dismissing his appeal against a Punjab and Haryana High Court ruling, which had ordered the CBI to probe the allegations that Kahlon as rural development and Panchayat minister in the Akali Dal-BJP government between 1997 and 2002, Kahlon had accepted bribes.

Kahlon had approached the apex court in 2005 contending that the high court was not empowered to order the CBI to take up the probe of any criminal case unless the state government entrusts the task to it.

While taking up Kahlon’s plea in 2005, the apex court had ordered the CBI to continue probing the case.

The apex court, however, on Oct 22 dismissed Kahlon’s plea and ordered the CBI to file its probe report in the relevant trial court of Punjab as the CBI probe was over by then.

The high court had in May 2003 ordered the Punjab gopvernment to hand over the investigation of the case to the CBI. The case involved acceptance of graft and several other irregularities in selection of 909 panchayat secretaries by the Akali Dal-BJP government.

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