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HindustanTimes Thu,02 Oct 2014

CBI files final status report on graft case against Virbhadra

PTI  New Delhi, September 01, 2014
First Published: 20:51 IST(1/9/2014) | Last Updated: 20:52 IST(1/9/2014)

The CBI on Monday filed its final status report in the Delhi high court on its probe into the allegations that Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh, during his earlier tenure as chief minister and union minister, was involved in graft, money laundering and forgery.

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A bench of chief justice G Rohini and justice RS Endlaw also directed the Himachal chief minister to file his affidavit in the court by Tuesday.


"The final status report of the CBI is filed in a sealed cover and it is also taken on record," the bench said, adding that it would hear the arguments in the case on
September 10.

The bench said, "How can a party (Himachal chief minister) be allowed to file its response without being issued a notice?"

The response came after the counsel for Virbhadra Singh said a notice should not be issued against the chief minister and he be allowed to advance the arguments on the issues, including the maintainability of the PIL against him.

The bench was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Common Cause against the Himachal chief minister.
Earlier, the high court had asked the CBI to file its status report in the case.

The bench had taken note of allegations of receipt of unaccounted money amounting to nearly Rs. 5 crore by the chief minister and filing of revised income tax returns for the years 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 by him.

The revised IT returns showed an increase in agricultural income by Rs. 6.1 crore, the PIL had claimed.

The PIL had alleged that Singh, during his earlier tenure as the chief minister and union minister, was involved in corruption, money-laundering and forgery, the charges dismissed as false and baseless by Singh.

He also amassed assets disproportionate to his known sources of income, the PIL alleged and sought a court-monitored "investigation by the CBI and the income tax department" into the charges of money-laundering, corruption, disproportionate assets and criminal misconduct against Singh.

The allegations also include cash payment of about Rs. 2.28 crore to Singh by an MNC steel firm during 2008 and 2010 when he was the union steel minister.

In order to explain the unaccounted-for money, Singh had filed revised income-tax returns for three assessment years, starting 2009 and "an increase in agricultural income to the tune of Rs. 6.1 crore" was shown, the PIL alleged.

The PIL had also alleged "quid pro quo" in relation to allotment of the hydel power project at Sai Kothi to Venture Energy and Technology by Singh as the chief minister. It further alleged that Singh granted several extensions to the company for execution of the hydel project.

"It is clear that unsecured 'loans' amounting to Rs. 3.9 crore were received by respondent No 5 (Singh) and his wife (after respondent No 5 became the chief minister of Himachal Pradesh) from the director and promoter of Venture Energy, the company that he had favoured by granting an undue extension despite repeated defaults," it alleged.

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