Congress leader and five-time Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh on Friday denied the allegation that he violated land laws to enable his brother-in-law to sell land parcels to realty major DLF for an ultra-luxury housing project in the state.
"It's a smear campaign of (Prem Kumar) Dhumal, Arun Jaitely and Anurag Thakur to malign my image in the run-up to the polls," he said. Elections to the state assembly are slated for November 4 and results will be declared December 20.
"The election should be fought on the issue of development," the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee chief said, adding that since his adversaries chose to defame him, he would pay them back in their own coin.
Some media reports have alleged that as the chief minister from 2003-07, Virbhadra Singh favoured his brother-in-law Arun Sen, who belongs to an erstwhile royal family, by granting him permission to sell his land in Solan district to realtor DLF in violation of laws.
Sen, however, has denied he had any such deal with DLF.
"I have never met any DLF functionary. Some of the co-sharers of our joint land sold it to someone who might have sold it further," Sen told reporters here.
He termed the allegations of illegal land deal as "baseless".
Sen alleged that a close aide of Dhumal got land parcels registered at 18 places in Kasauli in the name of one Jaswant Singh in just two months in 2010.
"I got the information on all the land registries through Right to Information application. The total land involved in the deal was 115 bigha (four bighas equal to about one acre). The chief minister should clarify who is Jaswant Singh or order a CBI inquiry into the deal," Sen said.
Kasauli is a picturesque hill station located in Solan district. It has a major locational advantage due to its proximity to Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) earlier attacked the Congress leader on Ispat Industries payoff scam, wherein a diary entry of Rs. 2.28 crore was marked against the initials "VBS" during the period when Virbhadra Singh was the steel minister in the central government.