Corruption case: Virbhadra may move apex court


Shimla : Union Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh said here Sunday that he may move the Supreme Court after the Himachal Pradesh High Court turned down his plea to transfer a corruption case against him to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

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Talking to reporters for the first time after the high court judgment Sep 3, he said: “Our main plea was not to seek quashing of the police complaint against me and my wife but we were demanding the transfer of the case to the CBI.”

“Now we have the option of moving either the Supreme Court or going back to the high court or even move the sessions court,” said Virbhadra Singh, a five-time former chief minister and Congress leader.

Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh were booked by police Aug 3 last year under the Prevention of Corruption Act for alleged misuse of his official position and criminal misconduct when he was the chief minister in 1989.

He moved the high court almost one month after the registration of the case against him.

According to police, the former chief minister and his wife were booked on the basis of an audio CD released by Virbhadra Singh’s political adversary Vijai Singh Mankotia in 2007.

In the CD, Virbhadra Singh was heard allegedly referring to some monetary transactions during his phone conversation with Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Mahinder Lal, who is now dead, police said.

It also allegedly contained the voices of his wife and some industrialists.

The high court while turning down Virbhadra Singh’s petition restrained the prosecuting agencies from proceeding against him for at least 15 days. The high court imposed the curbs to enable the union minister approach the Supreme Court.

Virbhadra Singh, however, alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state has registered false corruption cases against him.

“It is just an attempt to malign me. It’s vindictive and is (aimed at) settling scores. I am not afraid of it and am ready to face the case,” he said.

He said Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal is using the state machinery to settle personal scores.

“Since I have no faith in police, I said it would be better if the matter is sent to the CBI,” Virbhadra Singh said.

“Even in the high court we were not pressing for quashing of the complaint,” he added.

Virbhadra Singh said the high court noted: “In these circumstances, without considering the material collected by the investigating agency till now, it can’t be said that the case is fit or not for CBI investigation.”