Shimla: Himachal Pradesh Governor Kalyan Singh's decision to decline sanction for the prosecution of former chief minister and BJP leader Prem Kumar Dhumal is all set to snowball into a major legal controversy.
Responding to the developments, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Tuesday made it categorically clear that it's now for the courts to decide the issue.
Acting on a plea by Dhumal, the governor asserted that enough evidence was not there to prosecute the BJP leader.
The Rajasthan governor, who holds additional charge of the hill state, called for the documents relating to the case and made his observations in a communication to the state, official sources said.
The state Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau filed a charge sheet against Dhumal and three top government officials, who are now retired, on March 13 for alleged misuse of position when Dhumal was the chief minister in 2007.
Official sources said that in a knee-jerk reaction to summoning of the records, the government on the same day filed the charge sheet.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader was booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act for favouring Indian Police Service (IPS) officer AN Sharma.
Clarifying his government's stand, Virbhadra Singh said the government decided to file charge sheet in the court after previous governor Urmila Singh, whose term ended on January 24, advised the government that there was no need for her intervention to grant prosecution sanction against Dhumal.
The chief minister told reporters here that Urmila Singh took the call after taking legal opinion and taking into consideration Supreme Court rulings.
Refusing to comment on Governor Kalyan Singh's decision, Virbhadra Singh said: "He (the governor) might be advised to write this way."
The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau last June registered a case against Dhumal for alleged misuse of position.
Former IPS officer Sharma, who is also named in the first information report (FIR), had applied for voluntary retirement from the police service to contest the 2007 assembly elections on a BJP ticket. But he did not get the ticket.
At that time, the Congress led by Virbhadra Singh was in power in the state.
In the 2007 assembly elections, the BJP returned to power. The BJP allowed Sharma to withdraw his resignation to rejoin the service. The BJP government led by Dhumal promoted Sharma to the rank of inspector general of police.
The FIR was registered under different sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Then chief secretary Ravi Dhingra and then home secretary PC Kapoor, whose prosecution sanction was granted by the court on March 11, were also named in the case.