By: ML Verma
Shimla (Oct 1): Himachal Pradesh High Court today dismissed Union Steel Minister Virbhadra and his wife Pratibha Singh’s second petition filed under Article 226 on September 14 seeking transferring of a corruption case registered against them by the state Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau to CBI.
The divisions bench comprising Chief Justice Kurian Josesph and Justice Deepak Gupta pronounced the judgment in a highly attended open court, dismissing the plea to hand over investigation to CBI. Reading the judgment, the Chief Justice said extraordinary provisions of Article 226 empowering high courts and the Supreme court to transfer the case to CBI could not be invoked at this stage when case is not fit for it as court cannot make opinion over the ‘police charge sheet’ or ‘police challen’, which still have to be produced before the magistrate and need judicial scrutiny.
Upholding the findings of Justice Kuldeep Singh in the earlier petitions disposed of by the court on September 3 last month, the division bench said that the case was not at an appropriate stage to be granted a CBI enquiry. The division bench also dismissed the second prayer in the petition to transfer another CD case being investigated by the state CID against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and State DGP DS Minhas, also on the above findings.
The Union minister and his wife had pleaded before the division bench in this petition filed on September 14 that the State Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau could not be expected to carry out fair investigation under the BJP rule.
It must be reminded that in August 2009 a case was filed under the Prevention of Corruption Act against former Himachal Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pritibha Singh.