Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has written to the Chief Justice of India and Delhi High Court Chief Justice seeking transfer of hearing of his plea to quash an FIR filed against him in a disproportionate assets case to a different bench. He has claimed that the judge hearing the petition “gave the impression that he was not bound to answer all points raised by the Himachal High Court”. Singh added that the points had raised “bona fide doubts” about the judge’s impartiality.
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The Delhi High Court had on Monday started hearing final arguments in Singh’s plea to quash the FIR filed against him and his family.
Additional Solicitor General P S Patwalia is submitting arguments on CBI’s behalf, seeking permission to file a chargesheet against Singh for allegedly accumulating unaccounted wealth amounting to about Rs 6 crore during the assessment period 2009-12 when he was the Union Steel Minister. The arguments are being held on a day-to-day basis and will now be heard on Wednesday.
Singh’s letter, dated December 5, states that as a “constitutional office holder”, he had “kept mum” and “exercised great restraint” so far with regard to the case as the issue would “raise doubts about the functioning of other constitutional authorities” including a High Court Judge and the office of the Attorney General.
He has said that he was sending the representation as his co- accused, insurance agent Anand Chauhan, had sent a similar representation from Tihar jail on Monday. Chauhan has pleaded that the judge who is hearing the case is a “close relative” of Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared against Singh in the case before the Supreme Court.
“I will make a humble prayer that keeping in view the bona fide doubts raised by my co-
accused Anand Chauhan, which I am also in given facts and circumstances affirming, the matter may be directed to be listed before some other Judge in Delhi High Court,” Singh has said.
Singh has been booked under Section 13(1)(e) of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act for purchase of insurance policies for Rs 6 crore using undisclosed income.
Sources said the Delhi High Court had received the letter but such representations were “usually not accepted”.
“A proper application for recusal or transfer should have been filed,” said an HC official.
In Bilaspur, where he is on a two-day tour, Singh said he had done no wrong and that the truth would prevail.
“They (Centre and BJP) can manipulate the ED and I-T Department and also the CBI but they can’t manipulate the judiciary. In the end, the matter will go to court and my stand will be vindicated,” he said .