A day after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered a preliminary enquiry against Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh and his family for allegedly acquiring disproportionate assets while he was Union steel minister from 2009 to 2011, a battery of Himachal ministers on Friday came out with a joint statement slamming the Centre and backing the chief minister.
Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA government of “misusing investigative agencies to harass political opponents”, they said the registration of a preliminary inquiry by the CBI against the chief minister and his family members in the disproportionate assets case was a glaring example of how low it could stoop to victimise its opponents.
The ministers alleged that the BJP-led NDA government was “engaged in a political witchhunt and deliberately targeting” Virbhadra at the behest of former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, the leader of the opposition BJP in the state On the other hand, demanding the chief minister’s resignation, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) warned Congress party leaders not to blame Dhumal for the CBI’s decision to register a preliminary inquiry.
State BJP leaders including former ministers Narender Bragta and Praveen Sharma and legislators Gulab Singh Thakur, Ravinder Singh Ravi and Rajiv Bindal also issued a joint statement on Friday saying Virbhadra should step down on “moral grounds”.
“For a free and fair investigation it is necessary the chief minister does not misuse his office and position, and to ensure this, he must resign immediately,” they said.