Himachal CM Virbhadra Singh, wife appear before Delhi court in DA case
Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha are accused of amassing disproportionate assets worth around Rs 10 crore.india Updated: May 22, 2017 12:24 IST
Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha on Monday appeared before a court in New Delhi, which summoned them as accused after taking cognizance of the CBI chargesheet against him for allegedly amassing disproportionate assets worth around Rs 10 crore.
Pratibha and other accused, who have been charge-sheeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the case, have sought bail, news agency Press Trust of India reported.
The probe agency asked for time to file a reply to the bail pleas from the court which fixed the matter for argument on May 29, PTI said.
The chargesheet, running into over 500 pages, claims that Singh amassed assets worth around Rs 10 crore which were disproportionate by 192% to his total income during his tenure as a Union steel minister.
The final report, filed against Singh and 8 others for abetment and forgery and under the prevention of corruption act, arrayed around 225 witnesses and 442 documents.
Singh’s wife withdrew her application on May 1 from a special court in which she had urged the court not to take cognisance of the CBI chargesheet filed against the couple into a disproportionate assets case. She also alleged that the CBI hadn’t obtained permission from the state government to procure documents used to prepare the chargesheet.
Her counsel had on April 24 requested whether witnesses and documents that were collected during the investigation could be part of the chargesheet and if the court could read them for taking cognisance.
A day after being booked by the CBI special court, the chief minister accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of conspiring against him and asserted that all charges against him were fabricated.
Besides the 82-year-old Congress leader and his wife, those asked to appear as accused were Chunni Lal Chauhan, Joginder Singh Ghalta, Prem Raj, Vakamulla Chandrasekhar, Lawan Kumar Roach and Ram Prakash Bhatia.
The report also named Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) agent Anand Chauhan, who is in judicial custody at present, as accused. Chauhan was arrested by Enforcement Directorate on July 9 last year in a separate money laundering case related to the present case.
The Supreme Court transferred the case to the Delhi high court, which on April 6, 2016, asked the CBI not to arrest Singh and directed him to join the probe.
On November 5 last year, the apex court transferred Singh’s plea from the Himachal Pradesh high court to the Delhi high court, saying it was not expressing any opinion on the merits of the case, but “simply” transferring the petition “in the interest of justice and to save the institution (judiciary) from any embarrassment”.
(With agency report)
First Published: May 22, 2017 11:35 IST