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CBI examines Himachal Chief Minister in graft case

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 15:28

New Delhi: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has been quizzed and his statement recorded by CBI in connection with alleged kickbacks made to him and State Trading Corporation employees by some private companies.

The CBI had registered a preliminary enquiry on the complaint of STC that some private companies made payments to its officials and started a probe last October.

Agency sources said Singh`s statement has been recorded in connection with the probe into allegations that he as Steel Minister had also received payoffs of Rs 2.8 crore from a Mumbai-based steel company.

STC had given a complaint on which Aam Admi Party leader Prashant Bhushan also wrote to the CBI director and approached Delhi High Court seeking a probe into the matter. The complaint filed by STC and Bhushan has been clubbed, the sources said.
The sources refused to give details of the mode of questioning but said his statement has been taken on record in the probe.

In the representation given by Bhushan, it was alleged that Income Tax returns and affidavits filed during Singh`s nomination show dubious transactions which needed to be probed by the agency.

The issue was also raised by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley who wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh alleging that Virbhadra Singh recieved kickbacks from a private steel firm during his tenure as Union steel minister.

Virbhadra Singh, who was steel minister between May 2009 and January 2011, has denied the charges. It has been alleged that the Himachal leader showed unaccounted money in his Income Tax returns filed during assessment year 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12. It was alleged that he camouflaged these unaccounted payments as agriculture income exempt under the IT Act.

He filed revised IT returns for assessment year 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 showing revised agricultural income with an increase of 18 to 30 times in three years, Bhushan had alleged in his petition before Delhi High Court.
"The total increase in agricultural income amounted to Rs 6.10 crore," Bhushan alleged.

The sources said records of a private steel company show payments made to one `VBS` and STC employees.

CBI sources said role of an LIC agent, who allegedly helped Singh in managing his funds, is also under scanner.

First Published: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 15:28

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