CBI raids Virbhadra Singh's premises; Congress terms it "inhumane"
In an unprecedented action on a serving Chief Minister, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday raided the official residence of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and 10 other places in connection with an alleged disproportionate assets case on a day his daughter was getting married.
Shimla/New Delhi: In an unprecedented action on a serving Chief Minister, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday raided the official residence of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and 10 other places in connection with an alleged disproportionate assets case on a day his daughter was getting married.
Searches were also carried out at his official residence in Delhi, his two houses in Shimla and Rampur and a farm house in Mehrauli in South Delhi which is in the name of his son Vikramaditya Singh.
An 18-member CBI team swooped on the 81-year-old Chief Minister's residence in Shimla within minutes of his leaving with relatives for Sankat Mochan temple at 7.30 am to solemnise marriage of his second daughter.
Four premises in Parwanoo in Himachal Pradesh and Shimla of Anand Chauhan, believed to be close to Singh, and his brother Chunni Lal Chauhan were also searched.
Three other places in Delhi belonging to an alleged hawala dealer were also raided.
The CBI had registered a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) against Singh and his family members for allegedly amassing wealth of Rs 6.1 crore disproportionate to their known sources of income during the 2009-11 period while serving as Union Minister of Steel in the UPA regime.
The PE, which was recently converted into a regular case and the agency filed an FIR with a designated court here under the Prevention of Corruption Act, named Singh, his wife Pratibha Singh, LIC agent Anand Chauhan and Chunni Lal Chauhan.
The CBI claimed that during this period, Singh, a six-time Chief Minister, invested Rs 6.1 crore in life insurance policies in his and his family members' names through Chauhan.
Terming the action as "highly vindictive", senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said it is part of "Prime Minister Narendra Modi's hate agenda and political vendetta against Congress Party and its leaders (which) has reached its zenith today with CBI raids at the residence of India?s senior most Chief Minister".
Azad told reporters said the action has set a "shocking example of politics stooping to its lowest ebb", as the CBI moved in at a time when his daughter was getting married.
"On one side, entire family including guests from bride and bridegroom`s sides were proceeding to the temple for marriage. Modi government, blinded by personal revenge, was raiding the residence of Singh."
"Modi government``s lust for settling political rivalry has made it alien to India?s culture and tradition of not disrupting marriage of a daughter. This inhumane, cruel and revengeful behaviour is characteristic of personal style of the Prime Minister," Azad, who is the leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, said.
The Chief Minister and his family members returned home after a simple marriage ceremony at around 11 am but did not speak to the media waiting outside his residence.
Upping the ante, BJP demanded immediate resignation of the Chief Minister.
"It is a clear case of corruption. It is evident that he misused his position as Union Steel Minister during UPA's rule and indulged in corruption which has been exposed now in this case. He has no moral right to continue," Union Minister J P Nadda said in Delhi.
"If there is any morality left in him, he should resign immediately as chief minister," BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma said.
The entire cabinet of Himachal Pradesh had issued a joint statement yesterday accusing the NDA government of using pressure tactics to destabilise the Congress government in the state.