The CBI today opposed the bail plea of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife, saying they may influence the witnesses and the ongoing probe in a disproportionate assets case against them. The public prosecutor said Singh is the “King of the state” and if granted bail, no one will dare to come forward to depose before the court. “Accused is the Chief Minister. He is the King of the state and in connivance with others manipulated more than six crore into white money by doing criminal activities,” the CBI said. In their bail plea, Virbhadra Singh, who has not been arrested so far, and other accused submitted that the investigation is already complete since the CBI has already filed the charge sheet.
The CBI also said that the investigation in the case is still on and bail may hamper it. The agency said such crimes are eating the country. “It is to control that kind of crime, the Prime Minister had to bring demonetisation,” it said. “The agency did not chose to arrest the accused in the case while the probe was already on. If released on bail, there are no chances that the accused will influence the witnesses or hamper the probe since there is no allegation that they ever tried to do so in the case,” the pleas said.
The 82-year-old politician also cited several medical reports, saying he was suffering from serious ailments. The accused persons also claimed that they will be able to look after their case in a better manner if they are out on bail. “The bail should not be denied as a matter of punishment,” the pleas said. The court is likely to pronounce an order in the matter at 2 PM.
Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh on May 22 appeared as accused in connection with a nearly Rs 10 crore disproportionate assets case and sought bail. The CBI has charge sheeted Virbhadra Singh, his wife, Universal Apple Associate owner Chunni Lal Chauhan, stamp paper vendor Joginder Singh Ghalta, Managing Director of Tarani Infrastructure Vakamulla Chandrasekhar and co-accused Lawan Kumar Roach, Prem Raj and Ram Prakash Bhatia for the alleged offences including criminal conspiracy, forgery and corruption.
The charge sheet also names as accused LIC agent Anand Chauhan, who was arrested in the case and is presently in judicial custody. The court had on May 8 summoned them after taking cognisance of the charge sheet filed by the CBI. The CBI charge sheet, running into over 500 pages having around 225 witnesses and 442 documents, has claimed that Singh had amassed assets worth around Rs 10 crore which were disproportionate to his total income during his tenure as a Union minister.
Chauhan was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on July 9 last year in a separate money laundering case related to the DA case. The matter was transferred by the Supreme Court to the Delhi High Court, which on April 6, 2016 had asked the CBI not to arrest Singh and directed him to join the probe. On November 5 last year, the apex court had transferred Singh’s plea from the Himachal Pradesh High Court to the Delhi High Court, saying it was not expressing any opinion on the merits of the case, but “simply” transferring the petition “in interest of justice and to save the institution (judiciary) from any embarrassment”.