Graft case: Union minister Virbhadra Singh appears in court



Shimla (Dec 16): Union Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh today appeared before a special court here today in a corruption case registered against them by the state vigilance and anti-corruption bureau. The court granted them exemption from personal appearance in further hearings on their request.

Appearing in the court of special judge BL Soni for the first time since the court took cognisance of the chargesheet filed by the bureau on October 1, the court handed over a copy of the police challan to Singh and his wife. The judge listed the matter for next hearing for March 5. Singh is accused of misusing his official position when he was chief minister in 1989 as the couple was booked on August 3, 2009 on the basis of an audio CD released by his political adversary Vijai Singh Mankotia in 2007.

In the CD, Singh and his wife was purportedly heard referring to some monetary transactions, while talking on the phone to Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Mahinder Lal, who is now dead. It also contained the voices of Pratibha Singh and some industrialists.

Special public prosecutor Jiwan Lal Sharma said that the couple got conditional bail on two counts – they would not influence the prosecution witnesses and the second they will not commit similar offence. He said they were granted exemption from personal appearance till further orders of the court. In the last hearing the court observed that “there are sufficient grounds to proceed against Virbhadra Singh and Pratibha Singh under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988”.

The case came in this court as chargesheet was filed by the vigilance bureau Oct 1, 2010 against them after the Himachal Pradesh High Court dismissed his petition to transfer the case against him to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Mr. Singh told reporters outside the court today that the present
case is just a political vendetta to implicate him in false case as the allegations against him being levelled on the alleged direction of Prem Kumar Dhumal led government. He said that similar charges had been levelled against him previously and fresh move is nothing new for him.

He also alleged that State DGP of Police D.S.Minhas is being played in the hand of Mr. Dhumal for his personal gains while the former has been elevated to DGP post superseding many senior persons.

Showing his faith in the court trail against him, Mr. Singh said that case framed against him would not proved in the court as it is to please the political boss by fabricating him false ground.

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