Himachal Pradesh government is weighing its options between state anti-corruption and vigilance bureau and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in investigations into the list of properties owned by former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and his family members, including his parliamentarian son Anurag Thakur and younger son Arun Singh.
"We have two options, either to get the properties probed by the state anti-corruption and vigilance bureau or by the CBI," said chief minister Virbhadra Singh on sidelines of launch of Digital India programme at Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha on Thursday. "It's not only in the state, but Dhumals even own properties outside it," he added.
"Though CBI is an independent and reputed investigation agency, we will have to see how it functions under new dispensation. The bureau has prepared a dossier, listing 31 properties, allegedly owned by Dhumal and his sons," Virbhadra said.
The dossier was prepared on basis of a complaint filed by a Dharamsala-based lawyer, who has sought a vigilance probe into the properties owned by Dhumals within and outside the state.
The complainant had demanded that the vigilance bureau should ascertain the sources from where the properties had been bought. The complainant had also alleged that the family owned land, flats and other properties in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Chandigarh and Jalandhar.
The complainant listed the properties owned by Dhumals across the state, which included chunks of land in Kullu, Palampur, Dharamsala and Kangra. The state anti-corruption and vigilance bureau had suggested a CBI probe into the matter, but it's been more than six months and the home department is still indecisive on the probe. At that time, the former CM had asked Virbhadra to hold a parallel probe into the properties owned by the latter's family members.
Virbhadra sounded critical about the CBI's decision to register preliminary inquiry against him and his family members. He termed the action as political vendetta by his rivals "I have never been cowed down by anybody nor will be in the future," said Virbhadra, hoping that CBI would live upto its reputation of free and fair investigation.
Virbhadra said he was being targeted time and again "as the political opponent fears my strengths". "Had I been a weak person, they would have been targeting me. They are doing so as they know my political stature. How could have they initiated an inquiry against me when the case is already pending in the court?" said Virbhadra.
He added, "I know the outcome of such inquiries. I am well aware that politician, from both within the state and the Centre, are behind the initiation of fresh inquiries. Attempts are continuing to malign my image. I am hopeful that I will get justice."