CBI examining Jaitley`s letter to PM against Virbhadra Singh

CBI is examining a letter written by BJP leader Arun Jaitley levelling corruption allegations against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh.

PTI| Last Updated: Dec 31, 2013, 20:26 PM IST

New Delhi: CBI is examining a letter written by BJP leader Arun Jaitley levelling corruption allegations against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and does not rule out the possibility of examining the Congress veteran at a later stage.

Jaitley, leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, had written the letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and marked a copy to CBI Director Ranjit Sinha making various corruption allegations against Virbhadra Singh including that he received pay offs of over Rs two crore from a private steel firm during his tenure as Union Steel Minister.

Virbhadra Singh has denied all charges and said that he was ready for a probe by any agency.
Official sources said they were examining the letter written by Jaitley as the agency had already included the allegations levelled against Singh in a Preliminary Enquiry registered last year at the request of State Trading Corporation which had called for a CBI probe.

The STC had requested for a probe as Income Tax department had recovered a set of documents from a Mumbai- based steel firm which alleged pay off to various ministries and some of the entries were marked against initials of `VBS` and `MoS APS`.

There were four entries made to the listed beneficiary -- `VBS`--which totalled up to Rs 2.8 crore from October, 2009 to October, 2010. Singh was Steel Minister from May 28, 2009 to January 18, 2011.

The CBI, which is probing the case, did not rule out the possibility of examining Singh and his family members in connection with the case, they said.

CBI had claimed to have found revised income-tax returns
by Singh during 2007-08 to 2009-10 showing income worth crores of rupees.

Singh had filed Income Tax returns for three years-- 2007-08 to 2009-10-- of Rs 40 lakh each every year. This was later revised by him to Rs 1.5 crore per annum for all the financial years stating that he had included his income from his apple orchards, official sources said.

Meanwhile, the probe agency has recorded statement of insurance agent Anand Chouhan, who is said to have deposited Rs five crore in the bank account of Singh and his family towards buying life insurance policies.

In his statement, the LIC agent claimed that he was instructed to sell the apple orchards and deposit the money in the account of Singh and his family members.

The statement was being further cross checked before taking a decision on whether to summon the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister.

The CBI had registered the Preliminary Enquiry (PE) against unknown persons last year after receiving a complaint from the State Trading Corporation. The CBI`s probe was earlier to identify government officials who were allegedly shown as beneficiaries in the seized documents.

There were entries against some initials including VBS, that showed payments were made to the Coal Ministry, State Trading Corporation and MSTC.

However, after the `VBS` controversy gained momentum, the CBI incorporated it in the same PE registered last year.

In his letter, Jaitley has sought to know what action would the Prime Minister, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi take against Virbhadra Singh in "most open and shut case of corruption".

Jaitley has claimed Singh`s involvement in various scams in 2002 and during his tenure as Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister.