The Supreme Court Monday said former Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s ouster from the state assembly on charges of corruption was unconstitutional. A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan ordered the restoration of Amarinder Singh’s membership to the present assembly.
The senior Congress leader was expelled from the Punjab state assembly Sep 10, 2008 for allegedly favouring a private party in granting a plot of prime land in Amritsar during his days in power (2002-07).
The expulsion came after an assembly committee, dominated by the ruling Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), recommended action against Amarinder Singh after holding him guilty of involvement in the land scam.
The former chief minister was indicted for violating ‘norms in patronising and abetting the dilution of terms for favouring a particular party in executing a city centre project’ on 32 acres of prime land in Amritsar. This had allegedly caused huge losses to the state exchequer.
Three Congress legislators on the committee had dissented on the recommendations.
Amarinder Singh’s Patiala assembly seat was declared vacant and the Election Commission was to be approached for holding a by-election there. The election was stayed by the court.
Amarinder Singh is also facing a vigilance probe in other corruption-related cases like the multi-billion rupee Ludhiana city centre scam. The cases were registered during the tenure of the present Akali Dal government.