Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh faced a major setback today as the Centre told the Delhi High Court that a prima facie case of money laundering can be made out against him.
The Union Government further told that it was for the Central Bureau of investigation (CBI) to decide on further action on the matter.
A Delhi High Court bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath directed the Income Tax department to submit Virbhadra Singh’s income tax return details and other documents within a week for scrutiny; while in the meantime, the Court would peruse status reports filed by the CBI.
Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, appearing for the Union Government, said, “There was enough prima facie material available on record to say that a money laundering case is made out against respondent no. 5 (Virbhadra Singh).”
The Union Government was responding to the submissions made by Prashant Bhushan, who is representing NGO Common Cause, that an undue delay has been caused by the agency in registering an FIR despite the fact that there is sufficient material to prosecute the Chief Minister.
The allegations relate to his tenure as the Union Steel Minister in the UPA-ll. He came under the scanner following allegations that he had received payments from a steel company which had come to light after raids were conducted on the firm in 2010. He is also accused for revising his income tax account books of three years from 2008 onward to show a highly inflated income.
Earlier, the court had expressed concern over the delay in probing the matter and had said the CBI cannot take so much time.
Responding over the case, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh claimed of doing nothing wrong and hoping to the CBI to be fair. Even Congress party high-command had also given a clean chit to Virbhadra Singh and promised full support to him.