Congress, Virbhadra Singh reject BJP`s `bribe` charge

Virbhadra Singh dismissed as false and baseless BJP`s allegations that he took "bribe" from a private power company.

PTI| Last Updated: Dec 30, 2013, 23:51 PM IST

New Delhi/Palampur: Congress and Himachal Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Monday dismissed as false and baseless BJP`s allegations that he took "bribe" from a private power company and dared the opposition party to go to court or appropriate investigative agency if it had any proof.

"It is a sinister attempt to tarnish my image and I will take appropriate action at appropriate time including legal recourse against the false and highly defamatory remarks," Virbhadra Singh told reporters in Palampur in Himachal Pradesh while reacting to allegations levelled by Arun Jaitley, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha.

He alleged that the BJP was "feeling the heat of the vigilance probes" against his predecessor Prem Kumar Dhumal and his kin and said that he was ready to face any inquiry ordered by the Prime Minster.

"BJP leaders have become frustrated as they are feeling the heat of investigations into the charges made in the Congress charge-sheet," the Chief Minister said.

In Delhi, Congress said, "If he (Jaitley) has evidence, let him take that to the court or to the investigative agencies."

"His allegations do not mean much. Such things have come earlier also. Earlier when Virbhadra Singh was not Chief Minister and there was a BJP government in Himachal Pradesh, many allegations were levelled against him but nothing came out of them at the end of it as inquiries were held," party spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit told reporters.

Demanding a CBI probe and calling it a "test" for Rahul after his "anger" over the Adarsh issue, BJP leader Arun Jaitley alleged at a press conference that Virbhadra Singh accepted money to the tune of Rs 1.5 crore and Rs 2.4 crore through cheques in his name and that of his MP wife Pratibha Singh.
The BJP leader has also written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue.
When pointed out that Jaitley has also written to the Prime Minister regarding it, the Congress spokesperson said, "let the Prime Minister take cognisance or not whatever worth it is of. Let the Prime Minister see it."

Jaitley also alleged that the wife and children of Virbhadra Singh were made shareholders in another firm of the same promoter, who owns the power company, apparently in exchange of the favour showed by the state government.

However, Virbhadra Singh said that he had explained the full facts in the statement tabled in the house during the recent winter session of the state assembly at Dharamsala.

Later, transport minister and government spokesman G S Bali said that it was BJP government led by Dhumal which had sanctioned the project and granted repeated extensions.

He said only as per the directions of the Supreme Court, the present government granted an extension of six months and the project was cancelled in November as the company failed to fulfil the conditions.