Virbhadra withdraws plea on CBI probe, ready to face trial



Shimla: Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) president Virbhadra Singh on Friday withdraw his plea filed in the high court seeking quashing of FIR into the CD case against him or a CBI probe into the matter.

A division comprising Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice D.C. Chaudhary accepted the plea of Singh and treated the petition as "dismissed as withdrawn" after the Congress leader and his wife said they were ready to face trial.

The court asked Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh to appear on September 7 in the Court of Special Judge BL Soni, which had framed the charges against the couple on June 25.

Special persecutor appointed by State Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau Jiwan Lal said that the HC while accepting the plea of Singh 'dismissed the petition as withdrawn', implying that high court stay on the CD case stand vacated.

Singh had filed the petition praying for either quashing the FIR or transferring the investigations into the case against him and his wife Pratibha Singh to CBI.

Earlier, defence counsel Shrawan Dogra, appearing for Singh an his wife Pratibha Singh (former Congress Lok sabha MP from Mandi), told the court that his clients want to withdraw the petition and are ready to face trial.

"The court has accepted out request to withdraw the petition. We have decided to face the trial in the lower court as evidence of the witnesses are to be recorded," Dogra told reporters.

Virbhadra Singh, who took over as the HPCC chief on August 29, had announced that he would withdraw all cases from high court and face the trial.

Singh and his wife were booked by the police August 3, 2009, for alleged misuse of official position and criminal misconduct when he was the chief minister in 1989.

The case was registered on the basis of an audio cassette, allegedly containing conversation of Virbhadra Singh, an IAS officer, Mahinder Lal (now dead) about some transactions and conversation of his wife also figured in the audio CD which was released by former Congress minister Vijay Singh Mankotia on the eve of Hamirpur Lok Sabha by-elections in May 2007.

The prosecution filed the charge sheet against the couple in the court in October 2010. The Court of Special Judge framed corruption charges against the couple June 25 this year.

PTI