In surprise move noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan today moved filed Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh in Delhi high court, demanding CBI probe in alleged case of corruption when he was minister for steel in the Union Government.
The PIL was filed before a division bench of Chief Justice N. V. Ramana and Mr. Justice Manmohan and is likely to hear on November 27.
The litigation states that several primary documents like income tax returns and affidavits filed during nomination papers linking the Congress leader to ‘dubious transactions’ and investments involving large sums of money when he was in the central government.
The counsel pointed out that the matter was not an initiated probe by any agencies so far even after the petition had demanded it to do so earlier.
Mr. Bhushan made detailed complaints to the chief vigilance commissioner (CVC) and the Central Bureau of Investigation on January 11 but nothing had happened yet.
“Several acts of money laundering, corruption, possession of disproportionate assets and criminal misconduct 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 had not been probed.
“Inaction of the government 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 CVC into the charges of money laundering, corruption, possession of disproportionate assets, criminal misconduct against Mr. Singh.
The petition also added that Mr. Singh filed the IT returns for assessment year 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 showing agricultural income of Rs. 7,35,000, Rs.1,500,000 and Rs.2,500,000 respectively. This is exempt under the IT Act. In 2012, in order to explain the unaccounted money, Mr. 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 petition stated.
The PIL stated that December 1, 2010, the IT department seized from the office of Ispat industries documents whose spread sheet purports to show that payments made to one ‘VBS’.
Chief Minister has denied any dealing with Ispat industries and said the initials ‘VBS’ did not correspond to his name.
Opposition BJP in Himachal Pradesh was also charging Chief Minister in similar allegations also released some documents showing the bank accounts and has been sought resignation recently for filing wrong affidavit for not disclosing the correct fact.