Bathinda court rejects ex-Punjab finance minister Manpreet Badal’s anticipatory bail plea

A local court in Punjab’s Bathinda on Wednesday rejected the anticipatory bail plea of former Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal, who was booked in connection with alleged irregularities in the purchase of a property in Bathinda.

Badal’s counsel Sukhdeep Singh told reporters in Bathinda that the court has rejected the bail application and that they will now move to the high court in the matter after examining the local court’s verdict.

Several teams of the Punjab Vigilance Bureau had conducted raids at various locations in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan but Badal was yet to be nabbed.

The bureau had booked Badal and five others in connection with alleged irregularities in the purchase of a property in Bathinda.

An arrest warrant was issued by the court in Bathinda against Badal last month. Earlier, a lookout circular (LOC) was also issued against him.

The vigilance bureau had launched an investigation into the matter based on former MLA Sarup Chand Singla’s 2021 complaint alleging irregularities in the purchase of the property at a prime location in Bathinda.

BJP leader Singla, who was earlier with the Shiromani Akali Dal, had alleged that Badal, as a minister in the previous Congress dispensation, had abused his position to convert two commercial plots into a residential plot for himself.

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A case under sections of the Indian Penal Code, including sections 420 (cheating) and 468 (forgery), and also under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act was registered in the matter.

During the probe, it was found that Badal abused his position to purchase two plots measuring 1,560 square yards in Model Town phase-1 Bathinda, thereby causing a financial loss of lakhs of rupees to the state exchequer, according to the vigilance bureau.

It was found that Badal allegedly colluded with the officials of the BDA and misled the general public during the bidding of plots in the year 2021. Fake maps were uploaded to prevent public participation in the bidding process, the bureau had said.

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