Lok Insaaf Party (LIP) MLAs Balwinder Singh Bains and Simarjeet Singh Bains on Monday released an audio clip about bribe allegedly given to a sitting judge of the Punjab and Haryana high court in a case against Sukhpal Singh Khaira, who is an MLA of the LIP’s ally Aam Aadmi Party and leader of Opposition in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.
Khaira had moved the HC against summons issued to him in a case by a court in Fazilka that wanted him to face trial as an additional accused in a 2015 drug seizure case. But the HC on November 17 dismissed the petition challenging the summoning, and asked Khaira to approach the trial court for anticipatory bail.
In light of that, at a press conference on Monday, the Bains brothers released the audio recording of a purported conversation between prominent lawyer Amit Chaudhary and a dismissed Punjab Civil Services (PCC) officer, TK Goyal. In it, Amit talks about payment of Rs 35 lakh to the judge in connection with the Khaira case.
Simarjeet said the audio was recorded when Goyal had gone to meet Amit for “some work”. Amit is heard saying that he had got work done for Rs 35 lakh for an adverse order in Khaira’s case too.
Simarjeet added, “We have full faith in the judiciary, but this matter needs to be probed as the allegations are of a serious nature. I will provide evidence in case the probe is given to a central agency.”
Later, the brothers and some MLAs from the AAP, including Khaira, met Punjab governor VP Singh Badnore demanding a CBI probe and immediate registration of FIR.
“We also sought time from the Chief justice of India and the high court CJ to place before them the audio and seek a probe,” Simarjeet said.
Goyal, who was recently dismissed from service on corruption charges, was not available for comment. Efforts to get the judge’s comment did not bear fruit either, as staff at his home said he was out of town.
Meanwhile, Amit told HT that the allegations are vendetta against him because he was appointed additional advocate general (AAG) by the previous SAD-BJP government.
“The MLAs claiming possession of the audio recording are trying to hide the drug charges against them, and Goyal is mixed up with them,” he said.
He denied having said anything that is being alleged, yet added, “I had a throat infection that day and had consumed some liquor.” He accepted that Goyal came to meet him to discuss the case of his dismissal.
Chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh refused to be drawn into the controversy: “The matter is in the court, I don’t want to comment.”
Khaira said he had demanded from the assembly’s business advisory committee a discussion in the ongoing session. He accused the CM, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal, and specifically the power minister, Rana Gurjit Singh, of targeting him for “exposing corruption”.