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The district court in this Punjab town Friday acquitted Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, his wife Surinder Kaur Badal and their son Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal in a disproportionate assets case against them.

The acquittal by the court in Mohali, 10 km from Chandigarh, is likely to come as a big relief to the Badal family and six of their close associates.

The chief minister and his son, Sukhbir Singh, were present in the court complex when the judge announced their acquittal.

‘I am happy at this judgment. No politician wants a taint of false cases against him,’ a relieved chief minister said after the verdict.

‘It was political vendetta against us. That is why the case has fallen,’ the deputy chief minister said.

The case was being heard in the court, initially at Ropar town, 45 km from Chandigarh, since 2003 after the state vigilance bureau, during the regime of the Congress government led by then chief minister Amarinder Singh, registered cases of disproportionate assets against the Badal family and others.

The vigilance probe initially accused the Badal family of amassing assets worth over Rs.30 billion (Rs.3,000 crore). However, in the charge sheet presented before the court, the Badal family’s assets were valued at over Rs.780 million (Rs.78 crore).

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