Chandigarh: An Amritsar court has rejected the bail application of the former Deputy chief minister O P Soni in a case registered against him in July this year on the charges of amassing assets disproportionately to his known sources of income during the period of previous Congress rule from 2016 to 2022.
Dismissing Soni’s bail application, the additional sessions judge, fast track court, Amritsar, Randhir Verma, held in his order issued on Thursday, that it could not be said that the allegations against the accused were prima facie wholly false, frivolous or vexatious so as to justify grant of bail. However, even though the investigation was complete as the challan had been presented, the allegations against the accused were serious and material witness were yet to be examined, the order held and added that the possibility could not be ruled out that the accused might try to tamper with the evidence or try to win over witnesses to weaken the case.
It may be recalled that after Soni’s arrest on July 9, a court had granted his two-day remand to the state vigilance bureau (VB) but he was admitted to a private hospital after he complained of uneasiness. He was discharged from the hospital on July 17 and remanded in two-day custody of the VB.
Properties in name of wife, son
The VB held that during the check period from April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2022, the income of the former deputy CM Soni and his family was Rs 4.52 crore while the expenditure was Rs 12.48 crore which was 176.08% more than his known sources of income. During this period, accused O P Soni had made properties in the name of his wife Suman Soni and son Raghav Soni, the VB held.
Soni was a legislator five times who had lost to the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate in the 2022 poll when the AAP came to power with a stunning landslide victory winning 92 of the total 117 seats in Punjab in March, 2022. He had held important positions including the portfolio of health minister and deputy chief minister during the previous Congress regime.