The Central government on Wednesday informed the Delhi High Court that there was “enough” prima facie evidence to register an FIR against Himachal Pradesh CM Virbhadra Singh for alleged money laundering. Appearing before the court of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath, Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain said it was a “clear case of money laundering” and that it was “on the CBI to explain why it is holding the case.”
The submissions were made during a hearing on a PIL filed by the NGO Common Cause, seeking a probe into the allegations of money laundering and amassing disproportionate assets during his tenure as Union steel minister. Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, also argued that the CBI had “delayed” the investigation and had “been conducting a preliminary inquiry for over 18 months” despite clear rules for registration of FIRs.
The CBI has, however, filed a status report in sealed cover and sought more time to file another report in the case.
The court has for now directed the Income Tax department to file its report. The matter will be heard on August 20.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Himachal Pradesh CM Virbhadra Singh said, “I have nothing to fear as I have done nothing wrong.” He, however, added that there had been attempts to “frame him in the cases”
“The matter is sub-judice and I can’t react. I can only hope that investigating agencies do their job in a just and fair manner,” he said.
Meanwhile, former CM Prem Kumar Dhumal said, “During his one-and-a-half-year term Virbhadra Singh fabricated so many cases and said that the innocent need not fear anything. Doesn’t that principle apply to him now?” he asked. Dhumal welcomed the opinion expressed by ASG and said that the investigations should be expedited.
Asked if the BJP would seek the resignation of the CM, Dhumal said, “We have been asking for his resignation from day one and even during the budget session we raised this demand. His government will not last long.”