Judicial panel redeems Himachal former minister, Bali


Shimla: The one-man Garg Inquiry Committee set up by the Himachal Pradesh High Court to look into the conduct of former Tourism Minister at a private party, has given a clean chit to the latter.

The verdict comes as a boost to the sitting MLA, just before the elections and as a shot in the arm of the Congress, who had been facing flak from the opposition over the issue. BJP had been looking ahead to raise the issue during its campaign for the upcoming elections.

Private news channel, Star News had three months ago, conducted a sting operation on the minister at his birthday party, supposedly thrown by Bali’s NRI friend at a private hotel. The channel and the reporter claimed that Bali indulged in indecent behaviour and had hired “call-girls”.

Himachal High Court, on a petition, had appointed Justice O P Garg (retired) to inquire into the episode.

The committee termed the video footages as “doctored” in order to “damage Mr Bali’s reputation” and Bali’s conduct as “upright and straightforward.”

“From no angle whatsoever, can his conduct be termed as indecent, objectionable, blameworthy and improper,” the commission said.

The Commission has also recommended lodging a criminal complaint against the channel Justice Garg is expected to submit a separate report soon on the “legality” and other issues concerning sting operations in the country.

HimVani, in an extensive article had questioned the authenticity of the sting operation and had brought to light many a loop-holes in the story that was telecast. The sting operation had certainly raised the channel’s TVR in the state.

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