HC issues notice to Virbhadra, wife

The Himachal Pradesh high court on Friday issued notice to chief minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh on a plea seeking condonation of delay in filing the appeal against their acquittal in a 25-year-old corruption case in 2012.

The single bench of Justice DC Chaudhary issued the notice and directed the respondents to file reply by 17 April.  Justice Chaudhary passed the orders on the petition of former Chairman of state subordinate services selection board, SM Katwal for condonation of delay in filing appeal against the orders of the special judge (Forests) in December 2012.

The special judge had acquitted Virbhadra Singh and his wife in the infamous ‘CD’ case, a day before he was sworn in as Himachal CM for the sixth time in December 2012.

The acquittal order was challenged in the high court. The couple was booked by the police in August 2009, under the Prevention of Corruption Act for alleged misuse of official position and criminal misconduct when Singh was the chief minister in 1989.

According to police, the couple was booked on the basis of an audio cassette released by Singh’s political adversary Vijai Singh Mankotia in 2007.

The cassette allegedly contained Singh’s telephonic conversation with IAS officer Mohinder Lal, who is now dead. It also allegedly contained conversation of Pratibha Singh with some industrialists.
The petitioner alleged that the state has not filed appeal against the orders as it is headed by Virbhadra Singh himself, who was an accused in the case.
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