Monday, April 19, 2021

Himachal CM, wife get bail in disproportionate assets case

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New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, his wife Pratibha Singh and seven other accused were granted bail by a court here on Monday in a case of holding disproportionate assets.

Special Judge Virender Kumar Goyal asked Virbhadra Singh and the other accused to furnish personal bonds of Rs 1 lakh each and surety of like amount.

The court also asked them not to leave the country without its permission.

In his bail plea, the 82-year-old Congress leader cited several medical reports to claim he was suffering from serious ailments.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) opposed the bail plea on the ground that Virbhadra Singh may influence witnesses in the case.

“Virbhadra Singh is the king of the state and involved in corrupt practices. His medical issues are common and hence the medical ground cited by him should not be considered,” the CBI said, adding the probe was still on and giving bail may hamper investigation.

Virbhadra Singh and his wife appeared in court on May 22 and sought bail.

Apart from Virbhadra Singh and his wife, the CBI had chargesheeted Life Insurance Corp agent Anand Chauhan, his associate Chunni Lal, Joginder Singh Ghalta, Prem Raj, Lawan Kumar Roach, Vakamullah Chandrashekhar and Ram Prakash Bhatia.

The chargesheet said the Chief Minister was in possession of assets worth Rs 10,30,47,946.40 in his own name as well as in the names of his family members.

The Congress leader had failed to give satisfactory answers regarding the assets which did not tally with his known sources of income, the agency said.

On May 8, the court issued summons to the accused after taking cognisance of the chargesheet.

It was alleged that during the period between May 28, 2009 and June 26, 2012, Virbhadra Singh, as Union Minister of Steel and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, committed criminal misconduct.

His wife and other accused allegedly abetted the offence by investing his money in the names of his family members.

Pratibha Singh was accused of intentionally and actively abetted Virbhadra Singh in “investing his ill-gotten and unaccounted money in her and their children’s names”.

The senior Congress leader was accused of trying to justify the income as earnings from agriculture.

The other accused allegedly tried to legitimise his disproportionate assets by creating false documents in the shape of a memorandum of understanding and sale proceeds.

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