There was no factual basis to prove that the CBI had registered a disproportionate assets case against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh because of political vendetta, said the Delhi High Court, quashing his plea to set aside the FIR. Vacating the interim stay given by the Himachal Pradesh High Court on arrest or filing of a chargesheet in the matter, Justice Vipin Sanghi said the investigation, including searches of the premises of the CM by the CBI was not unconstitutional.
There was nothing to show that a sitting CM enjoyed immunity against a criminal offence registered by the CBI, the judge said. The CBI had lodged a case against Singh and his family under the Prevention from Corruption Act, 1988, and the IPC. Singh moved Himachal Pradesh High Court challenging it.
He said the CBI had held a preliminary inquiry in October 2012 and closed it. It started a second inquiry in June 2015 and registered the case on the basis of the first case. So, the CBI did not have the jurisdiction to register a second inquiry, when the first inquiry on the same allegations was closed, Singh argued.
After the CBI filed a plea before the Supreme Court to transfer the proceedings to the Delhi High Court, the apex court allowed it in November 2016. The CBI said the second inquiry, different from the first, was registered against Singh and his family for acquiring assets disproportionate to Singh’s sources of income while he was a Union minister.