New Delhi: Himachal Pradesh government was "blocking" CBI probe in the disproportionate assets case against Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and others by "acting as a proxy" for him, the agency told Delhi High Court on Wednesday.
"State (Himachal Pradesh) is blocking the investigation by contesting the matter by acting as a proxy for the Chief Minister. It should actually support us," Additional Solicitor General (ASG) P S Patwalia, appearing for CBI, told Justice Vipin Sanghi.
The ASG said the state's argument that its police and courts would have probed the matter "pulls wool over no one's eyes".
"The Chief Minister is the executive head of the state. Police is under the state's Home Department and the Home portfolio is with the CM," he said during arguments on petitions filed by Singh and others challenging the CBI's jurisdiction to probe the case.
The day's arguments commenced with the Advocate General of the state contending that "a subject of the state has been put to discriminatory treatment".
In the present case the 'subject' was the Chief Minister and his family members, he said and questioned how such "indulgence" can be shown by an agency which was "not authorised under the law".
He said police was a state subject under the Constitution and a central agency was claiming that it was also authorised to investigate the matter.
The Advocate General also said the state police and the entire hierarchy of courts were there to deal with the matter and added that the state had not consented to transferring it from Himachal Pradesh to Delhi.
He said the CBI was set up under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 and when this Bill was proposed, it was said that the agency can conduct probe in all provinces "with the consent of the provinces".
He claimed that under the Act, CBI's jurisdiction was confined to union territories and added that there has to be consent from a state for extending the agency's jurisdiction there.
Yesterday, Virbhadra Singh's counsel had claimed that CBI Virbhadra Singh's counsel had claimed that CBI cannot on its own decide to probe offences outside Delhi without the consent of the concerned state.offences outside Delhi without the consent of the concerned state.
The counsel had contended that in the instant matter, the alleged offence was committed in Himachal Pradesh as the disproportionate assets were located there and hence, the police of that state should have been probing it.
Singh had earlier claimed before the court that CBI's FIR against him was "premature" as it was based on the proceedings of Income Tax department, which was still pending.
He had said that CBI had lodged a preliminary enquiry (PE) in October 2012 which was later closed, but the agency registered a second PE on June 17 last year based on the same facts which were already investigated by it.
CBI had told the high court that its probe in the DA case against Singh and others was "complete" and it wanted to file the charge sheet in the matter.
The Himachal Pradesh High Court in an interim order on October 1, 2015, had restrained the agency from arresting, interrogating or filing a charge sheet against Singh in the case without its permission.
The matter, in which Himachal Pradesh HC had passed the interim order, was transferred by the Supreme Court to the Delhi High Court, which on April 6 this year had directed CBI not to arrest Singh and asked him to join the probe.
The direction had come when the court was disposing of CBI's application seeking vacation of the Himachal Pradesh High Court order, which the agency claimed had "seriously held up" its investigation in the case.
On November 5 last year, the apex court had transferred Singh's plea from Himachal Pradesh HC to Delhi HC, saying it was not expressing any opinion on the merits of the case, but "simply" transferring the petition "in interest of justice and to save the institution (judiciary) from any embarrassment".
CBI had moved the apex court seeking transfer of the case here and setting aside the interim order granting protection from arrest and other relief granted to Virbhadra.
A DA case was lodged against the Chief Minister and others by CBI under sections 13(2) and 13(1)(e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and section 109 (punishment for abetment) of the IPC.