Court asks Virbhadra to file reply in graft case
Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Friday asked Union Minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife, who were named in a corruption case, to file within two weeks their rejoinder to the prosecution`s charges.
The couple has moved a petition in the high court, seeking quashing of the corruption case filed against them and to stay the trial court proceedings in the case.
They also petitioned to transfer the investigation into the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as they have no faith in the state investigating agency.
The Congress leader and his wife Pratibha Singh, a former MP, were booked by the state vigilance and anti-corruption bureau Aug 3, 2009.
Singh, former five-time chief minister of Himachal Pradesh, is accused of misusing his official position in 1989.
A division bench of Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice V.K. Ahuja listed the matter for next hearing in the high court Nov 25, while the trial court in Shimla slated it for Nov 11.
In its reply, the state government said Singh has filed the petition with the intent to delay the proceedings against them in the trial court. "He`s influencing the witnesses in the case which has resulted into two witnesses filing two other petitions in the high court relating to the case."
The couple was booked on the basis of an audio CD released by his political adversary Vijai Singh Mankotia in 2007.
In the CD, Singh was purportedly heard referring to some alleged monetary transactions while talking on phone with Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Mahinder Lal, who has since died.
The CD also contained what were alleged to be the voices of Pratibha Singh and some industrialists.
Two witnesses in the case have moved the high court, saying that their statements recorded by the prosecution were false and forged.
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