In a move that can escalate a war of words between the ruling Congress and opposition BJP, the Himachal Pradesh government has sought sanction from governor Urmila Singh to prosecute former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal in a case of nepotism.
Dhumal, the BJP MLA from Hamirpur, is said to have given “undue concession” to former IPS officer AN Sharma.
Meanwhile, the governor left for Delhi on Friday and is to return on January 13. The government’s move comes in the wake of the governor’s tenure ending on January 24. The file was despatched to her house on Saturday afternoon for consideration.
The nepotism case dates back to 2007 and was probed by the special investigating unit of the anti-corruption and vigilance bureau. It was in June last year that the government booked Dhumal along with former additional chief secretary PC Kapoor and AN Sharma, the beneficiary.
The case was registered under Sections 120-B and 420 of the IPC and Section 13-B of Prevention of Corruption Act.
Two years ago, when the Congress assumed power, the government had ordered the probe that revealed Sharma had moved an application on November 21, 2007, seeking voluntary retirement as he was in the race for the BJP’s ticket from Naduan segment in Hamirpur.
The ticket was, however, given to Vijay Agnihotri and Sharma wrote to the department for continuation of services the next day.
Sharma also moved the central administrative tribunal for a stay on the process of his retirement.
After CAT granted the stay, Sharma withdrew his case and made a plea for continuation of service, which was regularised after Dhumal took over as CM in 2008.
Dhumal has termed the case as one of political vendetta. “These are false and frivolous cases. They will fall flat. The governor should use her mind before granting permission (for prosecution),” he said.