CBI today told Delhi High Court that its investigation in a disproportionate assets (DA) case against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and others was “complete” and it wanted to file the charge sheet in the matter.
The agency told Justice Vipin Sanghi that a case was made out against Virbhadra and others and since the investigation was over, they would like to file a charge sheet. Additional Solicitor General P S Patwalia said that as per the order passed earlier by the Himachal Pradesh High Court, CBI cannot file a charge sheet without that court’s permission.
“Himachal Pradesh High Court says charge sheet cannot be filed. Now investigation is over. Our challan (charge sheet) is ready. We want to file the challan. A case is made out against them,” Patwalia said. The Himachal Pradesh High Court in an interim order passed on October 1, 2015, had restrained the agency from arresting, interrogating or filing a charge sheet against Singh in the case without the court’s permission.
The matter was later transferred by Supreme Court to Delhi High Court, but the interim order has not yet been vacated or stayed. During the hearing today, Patwalia said the CBI had moved an application in the high court here for modification of the order passed by the Himachal Pradesh High Court.
The court, however, said it would hear arguments in the matter on the next date of hearing on September 8. The Delhi High Court on April 6 this year had directed CBI not to arrest Singh while asking him to join the probe. The direction had come when the court was disposing of CBI’s application seeking vacation of the Himachal Pradesh High Court’s order, which, the agency claimed, had “seriously held up” its investigation in the case.
On November 5 last year, the apex court had transferred Singh’s plea from Himachal Pradesh HC to Delhi HC, 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”. CBI had moved the apex court seeking transfer of the case from the Himachal Pradesh HC to Delhi High Court and setting aside the interim order granting protection from arrest and other relief granted to Singh.
Singh had filed a petition in Himachal Pradesh HC pleading that searches on his private residence and other premises were conducted with “malafide intentions and political vendetta” by the CBI. Singh had sought directions from high court to quash CBI’s FIR lodged in Delhi against him and others under sections 13(2) and 13(1)(e) of Prevention of Corruption Act and section 109 (punishment for abetment) of IPC.