CBI examines Himachal CM in graft case | punjab | Hindustan Times
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CBI examines Himachal CM in graft case

punjab Updated: Mar 26, 2014 20:25 IST

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The CBI has quizzed and recorded the statement of Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh in connection with the alleged kickbacks made to him and State Trading Corporation (STC) employees by some private companies.

The CBI had registered a preliminary inquiry on the complaint of the STC that some private companies had made payments to its officials, and started a probe last October.

Agency sources said Singh's statement had been recorded in connection with the probe into the allegations that he as steel minister had also received payoffs of Rs 2.8 crore from a Mumbai-based steel company.

The STC had given a complaint on which Aam Aadmi Party leader Prashant Bhushan also wrote to the CBI director and approached the Delhi high court, seeking a probe in the matter.

The complaints filed by the STC and Bhushan had been clubbed, sources said.

Sources refused to give details of the mode of questioning saying his statement had been taken on record in the probe.

In the representation given by Bhushan, it was alleged that income tax returns and affidavits filed during Singh's nomination showed dubious transactions which needed to be probed by the agency.

The issue was also raised by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, who wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, alleging that Virbhadra Singh received kickbacks from a private steel firm during his tenure as the union steel minister.

Virbhadra Singh, who was steel minister between May 2009 and January 2011, has denied the charges.

It has been alleged that the Himachal leader showed unaccounted money in his income tax returns filed during the assessment year 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12. It was alleged that he camouflaged these unaccounted payments as agriculture income exempt under the IT Act.

He filed revised IT returns for the assessment year 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12, showing revised agricultural income with an increase of 18 to 30 times in three years, Bhushan had alleged in his petition before the Delhi high court.

"The total increase in agricultural income amounted to Rs 6.1 crore," Bhushan alleged.

Sources said records of a private steel company showed payments made to one 'VBS' and STC employees.

CBI sources said the role of an LIC agent, who allegedly helped Singh manage his funds, is also under the scanner.