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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

HC seeks CBI report on graft charges against Virbhadra

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 21, 2014
First Published: 08:23 IST(21/8/2014) | Last Updated: 08:29 IST(21/8/2014)

The Delhi high court on Wednesday told the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to file a report giving details of the probe and its status in a preliminary enquiry (PE) into allegations of graft, money laundering, and forgery against Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh during his earlier tenures as CM and union minister.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw posted the matter for further hearing on September 1.

Meanwhile, the income tax (IT) department filed the probe report and tax assessment details of the chief minister in a sealed cover and said the original IT records could not be left in the court and could be produced on the next date of hearing. The CM, against whom the notice has not been issued on the PIL so far, was on Wednesday represented by senior lawyer and former law minister Kapil Sibal, who alleged that orders had been passed “behind my back” and he be allowed to advance preliminary objections to the petition.

“This is not a public interest litigation. This is a personal interest litigation. All the proceedings are taking place behind my back. The issue of alleged income tax violations are pending before the Himachal Pradesh high court and this court has no jurisdiction over it,” Sibal said. Additional solicitor general Sanjay Jain and Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the Centre and petitioner NGO Common Cause, respectively, objected to Sibal’s plea saying that a notice be issued first before the CM is heard.

Earlier, the Centre had said that a prima facie case of money laundering appeared to be made out against Virbhadra.

CASE FILE

DECEMBER 30, 2013: BJP leader Arun Jaitley accuses Virbhadra of accepting Rs. 1.5 crore and Rs. 2.4 crore, through cheques, in his and his wife Pratibha Singh’s name, from Venture Energy and Technology Pvt Ltd. Jaitley alleges that the company got two extensions for a hydel power project despite defaulting.

JANUARY 10, 2014: Lawyer Prashant Bhushan files application against Virbhadra in Delhi high court on behalf of NGO Common Cause, seeking a court-monitored probe by the CBI or SIT.

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