The Himachal Pradesh government has sought Punjab’s assistance in providing more information on the properties owned by former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and his family in the neighbouring state.
The state anti-corruption and vigilance bureau’s move to approach the Punjab government apparently came in the wake of probe into Dhumal’s properties ordered by the Virbhadra Singh government. The Congress government, after assuming office in 2012, had ordered probe into the chargesheet against the Bharatiya Janata Party regime that also included properties owned by Dhumal and his relatives.
Taking into account complaint filed by Dharamsala based lawyer the government had entrusted inquiry to State vigilance and anti- corruption bureau. The bureau also prepared a dossier of around 31 properties allegedly owned by Dhumal and his family members, including his son and Hamirpur MP Anurag Thakur, who is also the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary.
The probe is headed by Shimla superintendent of police (SP) DW Negi, who also holds the additional charge of SP state vigilance and anti-corruption bureau.
Earlier, the government had mulled over to hand over the probe to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) but apprehended that it (probe) would not be impartial and then decided to give it over to the state vigilance bureau.
Highly placed sources said that the state’s home department was of the view that the government should seek assistance from Punjab to reveal properties owned by the Dhumals. The government had written to Punjab to provide details of Dhumal’s business and properties in Jalandhar and other areas.
“We had written to the home department seeking more details on the properties owned by the Dhumals outside the state. The government has corresponded with the Punjab government over properties owned by the Dhumals in Jalandhar and other areas,” a state anti-corruption and vigilance official told HT requesting anonymity.
The vigilance has now summoned revenue records from different districts to ascertain properties owned by Prem Kumar Dhumal and his son. The state vigilance and anti-corruption bureau had sent a notice to Dhumal, seeking detail of properties he bought in the past eight years. The notice was affixed with ‘form 126’, which asked Dhumal to explain the source of his income and details of sale and purchase of properties.
Dhumal had termed the notice as vendetta saying that he had already written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hold a simultaneous probe into properties of all the chief ministers of the state.