Stepping up pressure on Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh to quit, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitely on Sunday dared him to allow his government to give consent to the CBI for a probe into his allegation that he accepted bribe from a power company.
Jaitley said, "The Congress Party and Virbhadra Singh have decided to brazen out the allegations of corruption. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi will hide behind silence. Singh has dared anyone to either lodge an FIR against him or to prove the allegations of corruption."
The latest allegation, Jaitely said, relating to his dealings with a power company was the one which now required to be investigated and proved as the previous charges against the Himachal CM were under a CBI probe.
In his Facebook post, Jaitley repeated his charge that "Singh, his family members and their company have received interest-free loan from the promoter of a power company. That power company had transactions with the Himachal Pradesh government, which at a given point of time had passed orders favouring the company. The facts prima facie establish that the loaned monies are used for buying shareholding in other group companies of the lender."
Jaitley said certain facts showing round tripping of money had also surfaced. "Section 11 of the Prevention of Corruption Act punishes a public servant who accepts and obtains for himself or any other person any valuable thing from a party which is likely to be concerned in any proceeding or business transaction with which he is connected in his official capacity."
The BJP leader said this offence is punishable up to five years. "Knowing full well that the power company is doing business with the state of Himachal Pradesh, the chief minister and his wife accept interest-free loan. This transaction also violates the provisions of section 13(1) (b) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The offence under this section is punishable for obtaining a valuable thing by a public servant for himself or for any other person without a consideration. Admittedly, an interest-free loan is a valuable thing received without a consideration."
The BJP leader held that section 20 of the Prevention of Corruption Act is the most effective provision of the Act. "If an acceptance of a valuable thing other than a legal remuneration takes place by a public servant, it is presumed to be for the purposes of bribery. The onus then shifts on the public servant to establish why this is still not a bribery. It is for this reason that I have called it an open and shut case. This case obviously cannot be investigated by the Himachal Pradesh police against its own chief minister. My letter to the CBI director on December 29, 2013 constitutes an FIR. In order to investigate the same, the consent of the state government under section 6 of the Delhi Special Police (Establishment) Act is required."
He said, "The allegation relating to the initials 'VBS' which were found in the diary of a steel manufacturing company is under probe by the CBI. The second allegation relates to the deposit of Rs. 5.5 crore in a Shimla bank account and the transfer of that money by one Anand Chauhan for the benefit of Singh and his family members' LIC policies. This allegation I understand is also being investigated by the CBI."