Facing allegations of corruption and questionable financial dealings, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh filed three defamation cases on Thursday. He filed cases against BJP leader Arun Jaitley, former CM Prem Kumar Dhumal and his two sons — accusing them of unleashing a “malicious” campaign to tarnish his image.
Jaitley had recently written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh levelling bribery and other charges against the Chief Minister and demanded his removal. Dhumal and his sons have also released certain papers pertaining to Virbhadra Singh and his family’s dealing with a businessman.
Virbhadra Singh, accompanied by senior ministers, filed the case in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (Shimla) Jyotsana Dhadwal. “I have filed defamation case under Section 499 of IPC against Jaitley, Leader of Opposition P K Dhumal and two separate petitions against BJP MP Anurag Thakur and Arun Dhumal, sons of Dhumal,” Virbhadra Singh said after he emerged from the court. The CJM has fixed February 15 for the hearing.
In the petition, the CM has said he has been compelled to take legal recourse as BJP leaders had started a personalised tirade against him and his family. This followed inquiries initiated by him into irregularities committed by the Dhumal government. “This is not for the first time that I have been personally targeted by Dhumal. He (Dhumal) has always worked with a political vendetta against me. In his first term, he tried to implicate me in the Sagar Katha case. I faced the trial and was exonerated by the court. Later, the government submitted a 24-point chargesheet against me to the CBI, which gave me a clean chit,” he said. The CM emphasised that when he returned to power in 2012, there were numerous complaints against Dhumal and other BJP leaders, “but I decided not to continue the bad practice of political vendetta and victimisation that Dhumal had started.”
“I did not want to turn Himachal Pradesh into a Punjab or Tamil Nadu which are known for political victimisation. Not even a single case was registered against BJP leaders,” he said. “Dhumal, his sons and other BJP leaders are back to their old political tactics and are indulging in mudslinging and malicious propaganda through the media,” said Singh.
The CM said he was not afraid of the “slanderous onslaught” by Dhumal and other BJP leaders and would face them boldly. He denied giving favours to M/s Venture Energy and Technology Ltd Company with regard to Sai-Kothi power Project but admitted having taken a loan from Vakamulla Chandrashekhar, which he said was being repaid with interest.