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CBI initiates preliminary enquiry against Virbhadra

CBI initiates preliminary enquiry against Virbhadra
Amidst Himachal Pradesh government’s vigilance inquiry against “alleged” malpractices in the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA), headed by BJP MP Anurag Thakur, CBI on Thursday “surprisingly” initiated a preliminary enquiry against state Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his family members in connection with a disproportionate assets case.

There are allegations about the family amassing <g data-gr-id="33">unexplained</g> wealth of Rs 6.1 <g data-gr-id="34">crore,</g> while he was serving as Union Minister of Steel during 2009-11. It was learnt that besides Singh, <g data-gr-id="32">preliminary</g> enquiry has also been initiated against his wife Pratibha Singh, son Vikramaditya Singh, daughter Aparajita Singh and an LIC agent Anand Chauhan.

“The enquiry is an <g data-gr-id="35">off shoot</g> of other charges against him, which were related to his disproportionate assets and unexplained income of Rs 6.1 crore during 2009-11 when he was serving as the Minister of Steel,” CBI sources said.

<g data-gr-id="39">Initial</g> enquiry revealed that Singh, while serving as the Union Minister, had invested Rs 6.1 crore in life insurance policies in the name of his family members through the LIC agent Anand Chauhan. It was found that Chauhan, a resident of Shimla, has opened an account, number 524185 with Punjab National Bank, Shimla, to execute the payments.

“Singh claimed that Rs 6.1 crore was earned from his Apple orchard but his ITR was Rs 7.35 lakh in 2009-10 and the revised return was Rs 2.21 crore. Similarly, during 2010-11 his ITR was Rs 15 lakh and the revised return was Rs 2.21 crore. In 2011-12, his ITR was Rs 25 lakh and the revised one was 1.55 crore. We have found some discrepancies in the figures, <g data-gr-id="40">and</g> therefore, we are examining the veracity of a complaint,” the source added.

On December 30, 2013, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley, presently the Union Finance Minister, claimed that Singh had taken undue advantage from a private company who had defaulted in the terms of “contract and completion of job on time” concerning a hydropower project. Then, he wrote a letter to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and CBI director, demanding a <g data-gr-id="44">probe,</g> while submitting all relevant documents and CDs.

“The Himachal Pradesh government had given an extra 10 months to the company and there are allegations that the firm’s promoter had made cheque payments of Rs 3.5 crore to the Chief Minister and his wife Pratibha Singh. The money, which was paid through various cheques, was shown as loan and evidences are there that the chief minister and his family were made shareholders in another private company belonging to the same promoter of the power company. Unfortunately, this is an open and shut case of corruption against the chief minister of Himachal Pradesh and his family members,” his letter claimed.

A party insider claimed that the agency’s preliminary enquiry came close on the heel over vigilance inquiries ordered by Himachal Pradesh government against BJP’s “alleged” malpractices in the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) headed by BJP MP Anurag Thakur.
Sujit Nath

Sujit Nath

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