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CBI: Will need Himachal govt reference to probe charges

The letter provides details of three cases,out of which two are being investigated by the agency.

Written by Rahul Tri | Newdelhi |
January 1, 2014 9:48:24 pm

As Pressure mounted on Himachal CM Virbhadra Singh,the CBI Tuesday clarified that it cannot probe all the corruption charges leveled against him by BJP leader Arun Jaitley without a reference from the state government.

CBI officials confirmed they have received a copy of the letter written by Jaitley to PM Manmohan Singh in which he made the allegations. The letter provides details of three cases,out of which two are being investigated by the agency. The third case,the officials said,will need a recommendation from the state government or a court direction to initiate a probe.

The CBI will soon inform the PMO on Jaitley’s allegations and the progress of the preliminary enquiry (PE) being initiated by it. Sources said the PE against Virbhadra is in final stages and the CBI has collected evidence to probe the case further.

The first allegation relates to recovery of diaries by the Income Tax department from the Mumbai-based Ispat Group. The diaries allegedly revealed payoffs to various ministries and some of the entries were marked against the initials of ‘VBS’ and ‘MoS APS’. There were allegedly four entries made against ‘VBS’,which totalled up to Rs 2.8 crore between October 2009 and October 2010. Virbhadra was steel minister between May 2009 to January 2011.

Another allegation against Virbhadra is that a man identified as Anand Chouhan bought LIC policies in the name of the CM and family members totalling Rs 3.80 crore. Chouhan was recently questioned by the CBI for allegedly making deposit of several crores into the Punjab National Bank account in Shimla.

The CBI said it will soon seek time from Virbhadra to examine him. “We plan to send a CBI team from Delhi to examine him. In the past,we have examined CMs on allegations of corruption by sending a team instead of calling them to Delhi,” said a CBI official.

Another allegation against the CM is that he had filed a revised Income-Tax return in which he reportedly claimed his agriculture income to be Rs 2.80 crore in 2012 while the tax return filed in 2009-10 stated that his agriculture income was Rs 15 lakh.

The new documents also allege that after coming to power last year,Virbhadra granted extension to M/s Venture Energy and Technology Pvt Ltd for execution of a hydel project allotted to the firm in 2002 that was cancelled in 2004. It is alleged that the company granted loan to Virbhadra and his wife. Also,in one of the group companies,his wife and two children became shareholders.

The CBI said it cannot probe these allegations unless it is referred to it by the state government.

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