Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh government has ordered a vigilance probe into properties of former chief minister P K Dhumal and his family members.
The move came after the state home department decided that the probe would not be entrusted to CBI and investigations would be carried out by the State Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau.
Sources in the Vigilance Bureau said that a Special Investigation Team (SIT) is being set up to expedite the preliminary probe and the bureau has already got some inputs in this regard.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had yesterday made some remarks about the properties of Dhumal and his family and said that the probe would cover his both stints as chief minister.
The sources said that the SIT would soon send a questionnaire to Dhumal and his sons, including Member of Parliament Anurag Thakur, to seek their responses to the allegations.
In August, Dhumal had demanded a probe and action from Prime Minister Narendra Modi into the charge that he and his family amassed assets disproportionate to their known sources of income.
In a letter, released to the media by opposition BJP, Dhumal said the Congress government had unleashed a malicious?campaign against him and his family since it came to power in December 2012.
"Like on previous occasions, a list of assets allegedly owned by me and my family has been sent to the state additional director general of vigilance. The complaint is without any affidavit," said the letter, dated August 7.
On the basis of this list, the chief minister and the vigilance officials have been unleashing a misinformation campaign against him, said Dhumal.
Asking the prime minister to secure an affidavit from the complainant, Dhumal said an inquiry either by a judge of the Supreme Court or by the CBI should be conducted into the allegations.
Meanwhile, state BJP general secretary Randhir Sharma dubbed the decision of the government to order a vigilance probe against Dhumals as an act of vengeance and motivated by malicious intentions to tarnish his image.
"Chief minister had been repeatedly claiming that Dhumals owned properties outside the state and as such how the state vigilance agency could conduct probe in other states," he said, adding that the entire exercise is aimed at victimising the leader of the opposition and diverting the attention of the people.