File report on Virbhadra probe, HC tells CBI
New Delhi – The Delhi High Court Wednesday asked the CBI to file a status report on its ongoing investigation into the alleged corruption complaint against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh when he was the central steel minister.
A division bench of Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice Manmohan sought a status report from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) within six weeks on a complaint filed by advocate Prashant Bhushan and posted the matter for Feb 1, 2014.
Bhushan moved the high court contending that a complaint has been made to the CBI but it has not bothered to initiate an investigation.
However, CBI counsel told the court that the agency has received the complaint and it is already investigating the case.
The PIL filed by Bhushan! stated that there were several primary documents like Income ! Tax returns and affidavits filed with nomination papers linking the Congress leader to “dubious transactions” and investments involving large sums of money when he was a minister in the central government.
But neither the government nor any of its agencies bothered to initiate an investigation even after they were formally requested to do so by the petitioner, Bhushan said.
He made detailed complaints to the chief vigilance commissioner (CVC) and the CBI Jan 11.
“Several acts of money laundering, corruption, possession of disproportionate assets and criminal misconduct were allegedly committed by Virbhadra Singh, which warrant a thorough and impartial investigation. But the same has not been initiated despite well documented complaints made by the petitioner,” the plea said.
It added that even the allegations fully supported by primary documents and which have been in public domain for months were not been probed.
“Inaction of the governm! ent in ordering a fair and independent investigation despite there being a serious case of misuse of office for personal gain would encourage corruption in the country,” the PIL submitted.
It sought direction to the CBI and the Income Tax department to initiate an investigation under the supervision of the court or the CVC into the charges of “money laundering, corruption, possession of disproportionate assets, criminal misconduct against Virbhadra Singh”.
The petition also added that Virbhadra Singh filed the IT returns for assessment years 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 showing agricultural income of Rs.735,000, Rs.1,500,000 and Rs.2,500,000 respectively. This income is exempted under the IT Act.
“In 2012, in order to explain the unaccounted money, Virbhadra Singh filed revised IT returns for assessment year 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 showing revised agricultural income, showing an increase of 18 to 30 fold of income in the three years.”
“The ! total increase in agricultural income amounted to Rs.6.10 crore,” the p! etition stated.
The PIL stated that Dec 1, 2010, the IT department seized from the office of Ispat Industries Ltd. documents whose spread sheet purports to show that payments made to one “VBS”.
Virbhadra Singh has denied any dealing with Ispat Industries Ltd. and said the initials “VBS” did not correspond to his name.