HC bars CBI from arresting Himachal CM, allows proceedings

  • Saurabh Chauhan, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Oct 01, 2015 15:17 IST
Virbhadra Singh (HT File Photo)

In a relief for Himachal chief minister Virbhadra Singh, the Himachal Pradesh high court on Thursday said that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) may continue its proceeding against the CM but cannot arrest him.

The matter came up for hearing before a double bench, comprising of Rajeev Sharma and Sureshwar Thakur.

Virbhadra Singh on Wednesday filed a petition seeking directions from the court to quash the FIR (No. RCAC-1 2015 A004) registered against him and his wife under Sections 13(2) and 13(1) (e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Section (109) of the IPC by the CBI on September 23 in New Delhi.

The double bench also directed the investigating agency to move an application if it wants to interrogate the petitioner.

Senior Congress leader and advocate Kapil Sibal appeared on behalf of the CM.

The CM also submitted before the court that the FIR was registered against his wife, Pratibha Singh, and him out of political vendetta.

The petition contended that the case was registered on the directions of former finance minister Arun Jaitley and former Himachal Pradesh CM Prem Kumar Dhumal. It termed the CBI’s raid “illegal”, saying that the state government should have been consulted before any action. The CM also claimed that he had submitted all his income details to the income tax department.

He also prayed that the court direct the investigating agency to produce all documents recovered during the raid at his private residence Holly Lodge in Shimla on September 26.

The CBI has claimed that during the raids at Holly Lodge and 12 other locations, several incriminating documents, property papers, investments, hard disks and pen drives had been recovered.

The agency has filed the FIR under the Prevention of Corruption Act, naming Virbhadra, his wife Pratibha Singh, Life Insurance Corporation agent Anand Chauhan and Chunni Lal Chauhan.

The FIR comes months after the CBI registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) against the CM for allegedly amassing wealth of Rs 6.1 crore, saying it was disproportionate to his known sources of income from 2009-11 when he was serving as Union minister of steel in the UPA Government.

The court has listed the matter for November 18.

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