PIL against Virbhadra Singh on corruption charges

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 16:25

New Delhi: A petition was filed in the Delhi High Court on Wednesday seeking a CBI probe against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh for corruption he allegedly indulged in when he was the central steel minister.

The public interest litigation (PIL) was filed by noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan before a division bench of Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justice Manmohan. It will come up for hearing on November 27.

The petition stated that there were several primary documents like income tax returns and affidavits filed during nomination papers linking the Congress leader to "dubious transactions" and investments involving large sums of money when he was in the central government.

The counsel also stated that neither the government nor any of its agencies has bothered to initiate an investigation even after they were formally requested to do so by the petitioner.

Bhushan made detailed complaints to the chief vigilance commissioner (CVC) and the Central Bureau of Investigation on Jan 11 but nothing had happened yet.

"Several acts of money laundering, corruption, possession of disproportionate assets and criminal misconduct allegedly committed by Virbhadra Singh which warrant a thorough and impartial investigation but the same has not been initiated despite well documented complaints made by the petitioner," the plea said.

It added that even the allegations fully supported by primary documents and which have been in public domain for months had not been probed.

"Inaction of the government in ordering a fair and independent investigation despite there being a serious case of misuse of office for personal gain would encourage corruption in the country," the PIL submitted.

It sought direction to the CBI and the income tax department to initiate an investigation under the supervision of the court or CVC into the charges of "money laundering, corruption, possession of disproportionate assets, criminal misconduct against Virbhadra Singh".

The petition also added that Virbhadra Singh filed the IT returns for assessment year 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 showing agricultural income of Rs 735,000, Rs 1,500,000 and Rs 2,500,000 respectively. This is exempt under the IT Act.

"In 2012, in order to explain the unaccounted money, Virbhadra Singh filed revised IT returns for assessment year 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 showing revised agricultural income, showing an increase of 18 to 30 fold of income in the three years.

"The total increase in agricultural income amounted to Rs 6.10 crore," the petition stated.

The PIL stated that on Dec 1, 2010, the IT department seized from the office of Ispat industries documents whose spread sheet purports to show that payments made to one "VBS".

Virbhadra Singh has denied any dealing with Ispat industries and said the initials "VBS" did not correspond to his name.

IANS

First Published: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 16:25

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