Virbhadra CD case adjourns for tomorrow



Shimla: The fresh petition filed by Union steel minister Virbhadra Singh seeking transfer of his corruption case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been adjourned for Friday as one of judges in the two-judge bench of Himachal Pradesh High Court refused himself from listening the case.

The petition came for hearing before a division bench comprising Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Rajeev Sharma, and the latter refused to be a member of the bench. After consulting Justice Rajeev Sharma, Justice Joseph announced in the court that another member of the division bench, refused to hear the case, therefore, it would be placed in the new division bench tomorrow.

As it has been mentioned earlier that Virbhadra Singh again moved the high court last Tuesday, seeking transfer of a corruption case (registered against him by the state vigilance department) to the CBI and the CD case against Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and director general of police DS Manhas also be investigated in the same manner as the probe against him.

In the petition, he said that after Dhumal became CM in December 2007, the government registered a case against him on August 3, 2008, and his wife under the Prevention of Corruption Act on the basis of an audio CD released by his political adversary Vijai Singh Mankotia in 2007.

Police say that in the CD Virbhadra Singh was heard allegedly referring to some monetary transactions during his phone conversation with IAS officer Mahinder Lal, who is now dead. It also allegedly contained the voices of his wife and some industrialists.

The high court had turned down Virbhadra Singh’s petition on September 3 seeking transfer of his case to the CBI. His counsel said the court disposed off the petition with the observation that investigation could not be transferred to the CBI under Section 482 of the CrPC.

“Now we are seeking the transfer of case under Article 226 of the constitution,” the counsel added. Virbhadra Singh also alleged that when the two audio CDs surfaced – both allegedly containing voices of Dhumal and one containing the voice of Manhas in January this year – the government adopted different yardsticks in their investigation.
He demanded that the case be investigated against Dhumal and Manhas in the same manner as was investigated against him.

In the alleged conversation recorded in one of the CDs, Manhas (then the vigilance chief) was heard asking Dhumal about tapping the phones of Virbhadra Singh and his wife. At this Dhumal replied: “Do it.”

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