Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has denounced the media reports appearing in a section of the press regarding his Income Tax returns as false, frivolous and fabricated. He said that during the last few days an attempt has been made to pass on selective and distorted information about his Income Tax returns to the media to malign his reputation. He said that he was pained to note that “selective” information was being carried to create an impression that there have been certain wrong-doings.
Virbhadra Singh, in his press statement, said that unnecessary hue and cry was being made against his IT returns and malicious propaganda has been launched against him with a malafide intention by P.K. Dhumal, his sons and vested interests. The news reports that have appeared were biased, politically motivated and with an ulterior objective of spreading misinformation and misleading the people at large. It was surprising that some media people were claiming of having access to classified information not only about his income tax returns but also about the proceedings of the income tax authorities in the matter, which cannot be procured even under the RTI.
Chief Minister clarified that in his political career spanning over five decades, he had maintained impeccable integrity despite several attempts by his detractors to tarnish his image.
Virbhadra Singh said that he has full faith in the judiciary and its independence and would honour the court verdict. However, it was unfair and unjust to pass a judgment in the case pending in the Hon’ble Delhi High Court even before the court has given its pronouncement, he added. He said that the Hon’ble Delhi High Court order dated August 6 makes no mention of the alleged remarks of the Additional Solicitor General (ASC), which were being reported in the media and being referred to by his political opponents.
Chief Minister said that since the matter was sub-judice and pending in court, it would not be appropriate for him to discuss the details of the case. However, in wake of the fact that the matter being reported by the media, he would like to clarify certain facts to set the record right.
Virbhadra Singh said that the issue pertaining to agriculture income of Shrikhand Orchard was pending before the income tax authorities. The Income Tax Officer while assessing the matter for the year 2009-10 had made a detailed enquiry into the matter. Thereafter, an order was passed by the assessing authority and income declared including agricultural income was accepted as reflected in revised return.
Whereas the matter pertaining to the other years i.e. 2008-09 and 2010-11 are still pending for adjudication/assessment before the Income Tax Authorities.
The case of Mr. Anand Chauhan, pertaining to the assessment year 2011-12, who was managing the Shrikhand Orchard has been finalised by the Ld. A.O. on dated 25-03-2014. The agriculture income received on my behalf has been accepted partly by the Ld. Assessing Officer vide order dated 25-03-2014. The order of the Ld. A.O. has been challenged by Mr. Anand Chauhan before CIT Appeals Shimla and the matter is sub- judice.
Virbhadra Singh said that the cases pertaining to revised return are being thoroughly investigated by the Income Tax authorities. In some cases, income declared in revised return has been accepted and in some cases it has been accepted partly. There is no denial from Income Tax Authorities till date that Mr. Anand Chauhan who was managing Shrikhand Orchard had not sold agriculture produce on my behalf. Wherever, any action has been taken by the Income Tax Authorities by invoking Section 263 of Income Tax Act, 1962, the same has been challenged before the appropriate authorities, hence the matter is sub-judice.
He said that it was very unfortunate that the BJP did not allow the proceedings of the Vidhan Sabha to be conducted during the monsoon session and deliberately disrupted the House. It is a matter of common parliamentary knowledge that matters pending before the Hon’ble Courts cannot be discussed and deliberated in the House. Still the opposition BJP pressed for discussion on a sub-judice matter and stalled the proceedings of the House. Congress MLAs also had various serious issues about the misdeeds of P.K. Dhumal and his sons but the same were not raised as the matters were in Hon’ble Courts. BJP should have respect for the dignity and procedures of the House.
Virbhadra Singh said that the precious time of the House, which could have been best utilised in discussing and deliberating upon the important issues pertaining to the development of the State and its people, was lost due to the stubborn, non-cooperative and non-democratic attitude of the opposition BJP. Staging walkouts, boycotting sessions and disrupting the proceedings of the House has become a habit with the State BJP legislative party which is not in public interest and is rather a breach of the trust of the people who have elected them.
He said that the BJP disrupted the entire winter session at Dharamshala. It did not allow the proceedings of the House to take place from 3rd to 5th February during the Budget Session and staged walkout on all four days. BJP MLAs did not attend the House for a single day during the entire latter half of the Budget session from 7th February to 21st February, 2014. During the monsoon session, again the BJP members disrupted the proceedings of the House and vitiated the atmosphere by raising undignified slogans. The House had to be adjourned midway due to unruly behaviour of the opposition as no business was allowed to be conducted smoothly.
The ruling Party was ready and open for any discussion and deliberation on any issue in the House and had purposely gone for a comparatively longer monsoon session to allow more time to the opposition for open discussions. But the BJP totally shirked and shied away from its responsibility of a constructive opposition. However, the Government was still open and the Session could be called again if needed. Public interest was paramount to the Government, but it would not allow anarchy by the opposition to prevail.
The demand of the BJP for dissolution of the Assembly was not only ridiculous but also demonstrated its power-lust and lack of faith in democratic functioning. The fact of the matter was that by its motivated and mean actions within and outside the House, the BJP led by P.K. Dhumal was trying to destabilise the democratically elected majority Government of the Congress in the State. The State BJP has proved by its action that it was anti-people and anti-development and had scant regard for democratic functioning.
Virbhadra Singh said that during the parliamentary elections, Prem Kumar Dhumal had all along been making public statements that the Congress Government in the state would fall after the formation of new government at the Centre. Dhumal and family have a one point programme of personally attacking me as they find me to be a biggest obstacle in their political ambition of usurping power in the State. In the recent convention of State BJP at Solan, the sole agenda was passing a resolution against him and to target him, he said. He said that Dhumal was indulging in malicious propaganda against him and the Congress Government in the State and manipulating a media trial.
He said that Dhumal family was getting desperate and panicky as various cases of corruption against them were being probed and some cases are pending in the Hon’ble Courts. They were trying to divert public attention from their misdeeds by indulging in character assassination campaign against him.