Even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is gearing up for a statewide campaign to oust the Congress government in Himachal Pradesh, chief minister Virbhadra Singh has set a three-month deadline for the special investigation team (SIT) to probe into the properties owned by his predecessor and BJP leader Prem Kumar Dhumal and his relatives.
“I don’t have personal animosity against anyone, but I am under tremendous pressure from the party and public to inquire into properties owned by Dhumal and his two sons and other relatives,” Singh said here on Thursday.
“Neither am I a vindictive man nor do I want to pursue political vendetta. It was only after provocation from Dhumals that the state government decided to speed up the probe against them,” the CM said.
“Inquiries against the Dhumals were already going on. I have only directed the officers to speed them up,” he said, adding that following the investigation’s outcome, action would be taken as per the law.
“I have directed the officers not to allow any fabrication in the inquiries. Dhumals have many properties in and around Shimla. The investigation will have both national and international ramifications,” he said.
“My only advice to them (Dhumals) is that people who live in glass houses should not throw stone at others,” Singh quipped. The state vigilance and anti-corruption bureau (SVACB) had on November 7 constituted an SIT to probe into the properties of Dhumal and his two sons – MP Anurag Thakur and Arun Singh.
The team will look into the properties owned by Dhumal and his kin within and outside the state. On a complaint earlier this year, the government had prepared a list of properties owned by the former CM and his kin.
The government had been weighing the options whether to get the properties investigated by the central agencies or by the SVACB, and later decided to take the latter route.
The complaint was filed by a Dharamshala-based lawyer who claimed that during the BJP regime, Dhumal and his family members had acquired properties within and outside the state. The vigilance bureau has prepared a list of 31 properties owned by Dhumal.