Punjab and Haryana high court (HC) on Monday sought a status report on the probe in a corruption case against former forest minister Sangat Singh Gilzian, after he moved a plea seeking quashing of the FIR.
The HC bench of justice Lisa Gill, while posting the matter for hearing on July 25, asked the government to respond by the date of adjournment.
The FIR was registered on June 6 by the Punjab vigilance bureau under sections of Prevention of Corruption Act and criminal conspiracy. Gilzian’s predecessor in the Congress regime, Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, has been arrested in the case.
Gautam Dutt, one of the counsels, said, “The matter has been posted for hearing on July 25. The court has sought a status report and response from the government.” A detailed order is awaited.
Gilzian was appointed forest minister on September 26, 2021, and he lost in the February 2022 assembly polls. He has been accused of organised corruption pertaining to issuance of permits for cutting of khair trees, transfer of officials, purchases, and issuance of no-objection certificates.
Gilzian, in his plea, claimed that the FIR is an act of “political vendetta” because of the change in government.
The petitioner has not committed any acts of “omission and commission, he claimed, adding that the FIR was a result of one Harmohinder Singh’s allegations that the former minister was involved in bribing officials and political persons.
There is no specific allegation that the petitioner showed favour to anybody by misusing his official power, he said, stating that such confessional statement cannot itself be taken as substantive piece of evidence in the absence of some corroborative material. The plea also says Section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption Act has not been complied with in the present case as the police did not take prior approval from the government. Hence, the FIR should be quashed.