Hearing of Virbhadra singh Case on November 4

Virbhadra Singh, Himachal Pradesh CM Virbhadra Singh, Himachal Chief Minister, Delhi High Court, Justices Badar Durrez Ahmed, Sanjeev Sachdeva
Shimla : The Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Virbhadra Singh, accused of amassing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income, on Wednesday told Delhi High Court that the plea seeking court-monitored probe into allegations against him was not maintainable.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the CM, told a bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva that an application has been filed challenging maintainability of the petition as well as the status reports filed today by CBI and Income Tax department. Sibal said that the application has sought recall of the court's earlier order holding the plea to be maintainable.

Amicus curiae Hariharan, on the other hand, told the court that he needs time to see whether the CBI and IT department were investigating the allegations against the CM properly and whether court's intervention was required and also whether the plea was maintainable.

Thereafter, the bench directed the High Court's Deputy Registrar to keep the status reports in sealed covers and to place it before the court on the next date of hearing on November 4.

The bench also said that it has not examined the reports now and will examine them if necessary. It said that if the amicus on the next date says there is no need for court to intervene in the matter and that the CBI and IT department are doing their job, then that would be the end of this petition.

On the last date of hearing, the court had directed CBI and the IT department to file status reports regarding the probe they have carried out so far.

The bench was hearing accusations against Singh of amassing assets beyond his known sources of income during his earlier tenure as the Chief Minister and a Union Minister in UPA II. He was accused of corruption, money laundering and forgery, a charge denied by him.

A PIL on the issue was filed by an NGO, Common Cause, but Singh had earlier challenged the maintainability of the petition, saying it was filed through advocate Parshant Bushan with a "motive" as the state government has initiated action against him in a land allotment matter.

Taking his submission on record, the High Court had on March 26 passed a detailed order discharging Common Cause from the matter and had appointed an amicus curiae to assist it in deciding the maintainability plea.

On last date of hearing, the court had held that the plea was maintainable as the court itself had taken up the issue. Singh has contended that the petition was not maintainable as the matter was already being heard by the Himachal High Court. He has also said that the cause of actions have arisen in Himachal Pradesh.

Earlier, CBI had told the court that it has already initiated preliminary inquiry in the matter. The IT department had contended  that it has the locus standi to probe the matter as the properties under question were also located in the national capital.

The PIL has alleged that Singh received unaccounted money to the tune of nearly Rs 5 crore. Referring to his revised IT returns for the years 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12, the PIL has claimed that it showed an increase in agricultural income to the tune of Rs 6.10 crore.

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