Prashant Bhushan’s accusations malicious: Virbhadra Singh

    By IANS,

    Shimla : Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh Thursday accused lawyer Prashant Bhushan of levelling charges against him as he was apprehending legal action for illegal land purchase in the state.

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    “Independent investigation is going on into the purchase of a tea garden by Bhushan. Apprehending legal action in this illegal land purchase case, Bhushan as counsel for Common Cause has filed a PIL in the Delhi High Court against me, levelling same old charges,” the chief minister said in a statement.

    A public interest litigation (PIL) was filed by Bhushan seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe against Virbhadra Singh for alleged corruption when he was the steel minister in the central government.

    It will come up for hearing Nov 27.

    The chief minister said Bhushan had purchased the tea garden at Kandbari in Palampur in the name of Kumud Bhushan Educational Society, which legally he could not purchase as there was a total ban on selling tea gardens in the state to non-agriculturists.

    “This matter of illegal purchase of the tea garden by Bhushan was also vociferously raised by political parties during the movement of Anna Hazare, of which he was a part,” he said.

    Virbhadra Singh also accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of launching a malicious personal attack against him and his family members.

    He said during the assembly elections (November 2012), national BJP leaders, including Arun Jaitley, personally targeted him and levelled wild and baseless accusations about his income-tax returns and alleged favours to Ispat Industries.

    “Jaitley not only illegally procured details of my income-tax returns, which cannot be obtained even under RTI without the consent of the assessee, but also flashed them at a press conference in Shimla while withholding parts of it to suit the political motive of the BJP.”

    He said during the elections, a story was manipulated in the media alleging Ispat Industries had made some payment to him. The story was based on an entry in the diary of an officer of the firm carrying reference to some “VBS”.

    The diary, he said, had hundreds of entries of other prominent people. The story was totally speculative and purely politically motivated.

    “It is a matter of common knowledge and established fact that such entries in personal diaries do not constitute material evidence under the provisions of law.”

    He said neither any favour was received from Ispat Industries nor any favour granted to it during his tenure as the steel minister.

    “This was confirmed even by my successor in the steel ministry, Beni Prasad Verma, who categorically stated that no favour was made to the company on behalf of the steel ministry and that the papers containing the name of a beneficiary as “VBS” were a mere handiwork of company employees to siphon funds,” the chief minister said.