it was obvious that it was Virbhadra Singh who headed the union steel ministry during the time the payments were reportedly made.
Dhumal said, "Regarding the latest scam in the steel ministry, pointing towards the then minister Virbhadra Singh, there are many questions to be answered."
He said, "The union government has not come out with the action taken against the officers and politicians whose initials were mentioned in the diary recovered by income tax authorities."
He questioned whether the payments claimed to have been made by the firm were in exchange for any work or some benefits, adding that it was also not clear why the order given to the firm by the ministry was cancelled and why Virbhadra Singh was removed from the ministry some time later.
Reacting to Virbhadra Singh's statement that his initials were 'VS' and not 'VBS', Dhumal quipped, "We are not talking about matching signatures or initials, but it is a fact that Virbhadra Singh was the minister for steel during the time when the payments were supposed to have been made."
The CM demanded that the Prime Minister should come out with a statement on the issue since the minister in question has been projected by the Congress party as the chief ministerial candidate in Himachal.
He charged that while new scams were surfacing every day in the UPA government, it was shame that instead of addressing issues like inflation, terrorism and external aggression, Congress leaders were always on their toes in defending scams involving their leaders.
Predicting early Lok Sabha elections after the BJP victories in Himachal and Gujarat, Dhumal said, "The general elections would be held in 2013 as the UPA government has become the most corrupt and failed on all fronts miserably."
Negating Virbhadra's allegations that the BJP was behind the episode, Dhumal said besides the steel ministry, even the income tax department, which made the revelations, was under the union government.
Referring to the audio CD containing the voice of Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh, Dhumal said, "The conversations in the CD are said to have taken place in 1988-89 when I had not even entered politics. The CD was released in 2007 when Virbhadra Singh was the CM." "Yet, Virbhadra Singh speaks of a BJP hand in the CD episode," he added.
Replying to the rebellion within the party on some seats against the party candidates, Dhumal said, "Since the BJP workers know their party is going to win, there is a keen competition for tickets." However, he said, good party workers will be adequately rewarded after the party repeats its victory.
State party president Satpal Singh Satti, HIMFED chairperson Santosh Saini and party's media cell member Hari Om Bhanot accompanied the CM.