Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh on Wednesday challenged the Delhi high court order refusing to quash a criminal case registered against him and his wife in connection with a disproportionate assets case.
Alleging the case was part of a political vendetta by the Centre, Singh challenged its registration on technical grounds. He said the CBI could not have taken up the investigation without the state’s consent – a pre-requisite under the law governing the central investigating agency. He maintained the CBI overstepped its jurisdiction as the cause of action did not arise in the territory of Delhi.
The CBI has already conducted a preliminary inquiry and closed the case, Singh contended on the same grounds, and questioned the case being re-opened.
Justice Vipin Sanghi had on Friday dismissed Singh’s plea to quash the CBI’s FIR and vacated the October 1, 2015 order of the Himachal Pradesh high court that had put the probe on hold.
The CBI accused the chief minister of amassing assets worth ₹6 crore between 2009 and 2012 during his tenure as Union steel minister.
The agency’s stand is that it has the jurisdiction to register and probe the case in Delhi as the cause of action arose when he was the Union minister during the UPA government.
Singh had earlier filed a petition before the Himachal Pradesh high court, which in an interim order on October 1, 2015, restrained the CBI from arresting, interrogating or filing a charge sheet against him.
In November 2015, the top court transferred Singh’s petition from Himachal Pradesh to the Delhi high court where the CBI pressed for vacating the stay order on the ground that it hampered its investigation.