A day after governor Kalyan Singh observed that there was insufficient evidence against former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal in the case related to "misuse of public office", Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said the "law would take its own course" as the state anti-corruption & vigilance bureau had already filed a 'challan' in a local court.
"I don't think it's constitutionally correct for me to comment on the statement issued by the governor's office. As far as we're concerned the matter will now be decided by the courts," he told reporters outside the legislative assembly on Tuesday.
He admitted the governor's office had recalled the file related to the case that had earlier been sent to the outgoing governor, Urmila Singh, for seeking prosecution sanction. He claimed his government had proceeded against Dhumal in accordance with Urmila's observation that there was no need for getting the sanction.
Virbhadra was guarded in his reply when asked whether the issue had drawn the governor's office and the government close to a confrontation. "There's no confrontation at all. It's true the governor had recalled the file related to the case. I think he is being advised wrongly," he added.
After Urmila had returned the file to the government saying the latter had to decide on the case, Dhumal urged Kalyan, who was sworn in as officiating governor on January 26, to intervene. Agreeing to his request Kalyan asked for the file to be sent back to the governor's office.
However, preempting the move, the vigilance bureau filed a 'challan' against Dhumal, ex-chief secretary Ravi Dhingra, former additional chief secretary PC Kapoor and ex-IGP AN Sharma in a local court.
After taking over the reins of power in the state, the Congress party led government had ordered a probe to ascertain the permission granted by the government to withdraw the voluntary retirement of Sharma. Investigations found that Sharma had moved an application on November 21, 2007 seeking voluntary retirement from services. At that time S Vijay Kumar was home secretary and Virbhadra headed the home department.
Sharma had sought voluntary retirement since he was in race for the BJP ticket for the Naduan assembly segment in Hamirpur district. The ticket was announced on November 26 and the BJP preferred Vijay Agnihotri over Sharma, who wrote to the department seeking continuation of service. The probe revealed the government had heeded Sharma's request on November 21 while the application for continuation of service was received on November 28, 2007.
Later, Sharma moved the Central Administrative Tribunal to seek a stay on the process of his retirement. After the CAT granted the stay he withdrew his case and filed a plea for continuation of service, which was regularized soon after Dhumal took over as chief minister in 2008. Kapoor, who retired as additional chief secretary, was home secretary when the government considered Sharma's application for continuation of service while Dhingra was the chief secretary.