The state government on Friday pressed for the cancellation of bail of former chief minister and Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee chief Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh, a former Lok Sabha member, and in order to delay the proceedings, it urged the court that the government would like to lead evidence for disposal of application for cancellation of bail.
The couple on Friday appeared in person before the court of special judge (forest) BL Soni and the court presented charges against them. The couple denied to accept formal charges that were framed against them. The charge against Virbhadra Singh is that while being chief minister in 1989, "he accepted gratification to favour the Mohan Meakin and Gujrat Ambuja, whereas Pratibha Singh was charged with influencing the government being the wife of the chief minister".
Special judge (forest) BL Soni, at the beginning, put forth formal charges that were framed against Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh in the controversial compact disc that purportedly contained conversation of the couple along with few others, including former Indian Administrative Service officer Mohinder Lal.
Singh known for his punctuality, appeared in the court sharp at 9.30 am. He was flanked by battery of his lawyers, while a large number of his supporters were also present on the court premises. The hearing of the case lasted for nearly an hour. Initiating the hearing, the judge handed over a copy of charges to Virbhadra Singh, which he denied to accept. Singh left the court premises as soon as the hearing was over. The next hearing of the case has been fixed for September 12.
"Charges against my client (Virbhadra Singh) have been framed on conversation contained in compact disc," said Shrawan Dogra, Virbahdra's counsel. "Our side is all set for arguments on the application for cancellation of bail," he said, adding that the plea for arguments had been opposed by the government counsel.
The government counsel demanded that prior to initiating arguments, the court should consider application moved for cancellation of Singh's bail. He said Singh is influencing the witnesses and in order to prove the same "we have to lead the evidence". The counsel for Vibhadra opposed this argument of the state government and said the government did not want to bring truth in front of public. The counsel added that the government is applying tactics to delay the conclusion of the trial.
The court adjourned the case for September 12 for consideration of application of cancellation of bail.
Special judge (forest) BL Soni framed charges against Virbhadra and his wife Pratibha on June 27. Virbhadra gave up union micro, small and medium enterprises ministry in the wake of charges framed against him.
It may be mentioned that on two above-said charges Prem Chand Jain and Kapil Mohan have already denied this case of prosecution by filing a writ petition before the high court. The court has already exempted the couple for appearance during the trial.