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Amarinder's son alleges conspiracy

By Our Staff Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, APRIL 22. Charges of hawala dealings against the Punjab Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh's family took a new turn today when his son, Raninder Singh, produced "evidence'' that he was the target of a "deep rooted malicious'' conspiracy. He has filed a detailed reply before the Commission of Inquiry instituted to look into the charges.

Mr. Raninder Singh, who was accused of money laundering using an Intranet company, produced documents to show that a letter published in some regional newspapers was "forged and fabricated''. In the presence of his lawyer, Raninder Singh distributed copies of the various communications he undertook with the different companies in separate countries. He claimed that while some companies were non-existent, others have recorded that they had no stakes in India.

Renowned advocate, R.S. Gill, who is pursuing the case for Raninder Singh stressed that the documents procured from these foreign companies, had been notarised from the competent authorities and duly attested by the Indian missions there.

After the news that Mr. Raninder Singh had allegedly been involved in a money laundering scandal hit the headlines, the Chief Minister ordered the setting up of a Commission headed by a retired judge of the High Court, Justice B.S. Nehra to look into the matter. Mr. Gill informed that while a reply to the notice from the commission had been filed, a letter to explain the situation had been sent to the Union Finance Ministry and the Enforcement Directorate.

Reacting to the claims by Mr. Raninder Singh, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president, Parkash Singh Badal described the one man commission set up by the Chief Minister as "an election stunt and a massive fraud on the people of Punjab on the eve of Lok Sabha elections. The Chief Minister is now preparing a clean chit for his son when his party is facing a certain rout in the forthcoming elections. But this stunt will not work.''

Mr. Badal through a statement by his media office, referred to earlier statements of the Chief Minister in which he had refused to refer the cases of corruption against Akali leaders, including those belonging to the Badal family, to an independent commission headed by a sitting or retired judge of the Supreme Court. Capt. Amarinder Singh had refused to set up such a commission saying that he had no faith in the efficiency of commissions, Mr. Badal said adding that Chief Minister had gone to the extent of describing these commission as "legal handmaids of politicians''.

Mr. Badal said his party had already rejected the formation of the commission and will treat its report as no more than "a mere black sheet fit to be thrown in the dustbin of history".

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