The Delhi High Court directed CBI to file a status report in a case of alleged corruption and money laundering against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh.
A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice R.S. Endlaw, while hearing PIL filed by NGO Common Cause, directed the CBI and the Income tax department to submit their complete records. Though, the Income Tax (IT) department had filed the probe report and tax assessment details of Virbhadra Singh in sealed covers, but Court observed that the original IT records cannot be left in the court and can be produced on the next date of hearing. On behalf of petitioner, Common Cause, lawyer Prashant Bhushan argued before the High court that the FIR had not been registered against Singh at the behest of the CBI Director. Mr Bhushan submitted that had the documents been filed along with the petition placed in trial, Singh would surely have been convicted for disproportionate assets, corruption and money laundering. Mr Bhushan also said proceedings had been initiated against the CM after investigations by the Income Tax Department unearthed more than Rs 20 crore in unaccounted money. Despite the Income Tax findings, the CBI has been doing an inquiry since January 2013 and still not registered even an FIR “in complete violation of law”, Mr Bhushan said and added it was the CBI Director who was preventing the registration of FIR.
The High Court also asked Virbhadra Singh, who was represented by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, to file an affidavit. Earlier, noted Supreme court lawyer and former union minister Kapil Sabil claimed that the PIL filed by Mr Bhushan had been filed in his personal capacity and should not be treated as PIL.He also pointed out that Mr Bhushan is misusing the PIL in order to settle some land dispute in Himachal. . But the bench asked Mr Sibal to file an affidavit about the allegations before the court after hearing arguments of both the party.
The Government of Himachal Pradesh had already initiated enquiry in to the land dealings, wherein irregularities were committed in order to benefit the society owned by Mr Bhushan Mr Sibal alleged. The Income Tax department, meanwhile, has filed its report in a sealed cover, which was submitted in the Court, said the official spokesman. The developments in this case are keenly watched in the political circles here and the outcome after every hearing becomes a talk of the town. A number of people were seen discussing the issue in the busy streets and crowded restaurants of the town. The fate of opposing faction and its leaders within the party and future strategy of the aggressive BJP depends a lot on the final decision of this case. The government had to bring a resolution to adjourn the Monsoon session midway recently, after the belligerent opposition resorted to frequent walkouts on the issue of corruption and money laundering, involving the Chief Minister.