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Virbhadra Singh lands in Delhi,denies corruption charges

Himachal CM brings power project files; wife Pratibha Singh meets senior party leaders

Written by Express News Service | Shimla/ New Delhi |
January 1, 2014 9:40:10 pm

A day after BJP leader Arun Jaitley levelled allegations of corruption against him,Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh rushed to Delhi Tuesday afternoon. The Himachal CM’s unscheduled Delhi visit came amidst speculation about the Congress high command summoning him after the opposition’s stiff demand for his ouster.

On arrival in Delhi on Tuesday,the Himachal CM claimed that the allegations were a “malicious campaign” by the Opposition. His wife,Pratibha Singh,who has also been accused of corruption,visited the AICC headquarters and met senior party leaders.

While developments in the Congress show that the party leadership has been put in a tight spot over the charges,sources said Virbhadra may be given some time and asked to explain his position.

Before flying to Delhi,Virbhadra is reported to have requisitioned files related to hydel projects including Saikothi (15 MW) project,which was allotted to Venture Energy and Technologies Ltd.

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Two Cabinet ministers,Sudhir Sharma (Urban and Housing) and Mukesh Agnihotri (Industry and Public relations),also accompanied Virbhadra to Delhi.

Meanwhile,former Himachal CM and Leader of Opposition in the state Prem Kumar Dhumal maintained that if Virbhadra does not resign,the central and state BJP leadership will meet President Pranab Mukherjee and seek his removal.

In a statement in the evening,Virbhadra refuted the allegations levelled by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Jaitley. “It is clarified that that Ispat Industry people have never met me except for once. I have never received any favour from them during my tenure as steel minister and neither any favour had been done to the firm during my period,” he said.

About his alleged favours to a certain power project,Virbhadra said it was the erstwhile BJP government that gave the project an extension. “On the other hand my government has taken a decision of cancelling the project thereby upholding the rule of law,” he said.

Dismissing the allegations against his family,Virbhadra said the BJP was making hue and cry by distorting facts. “It is absolutely a foul play to involve me in false cases. All these cases have been maneuvered by the BJP to hamper the progress of the Congress party and government in the state,” the Chief Minister said.

Virbhadra said that after coming to power in Himachal,his government had handed over a chargesheet to the State Vigilance Department.

“The chargesheet contained serious charges of corruption and land scams against P K Dhumal and his family members,high profile land cases involving Ramdev’s Patanjali Yogpeeth,Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan’s trust,HPCA’s hotel,Bemloe construction,Annandale area etc,” he said.

Jaitley dares Virbhadra to file case of defamation

Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley Tuesday dared

Himachal Pradesh CM Virbhadra Singh to file a defamation case,a day after the latter threatened to drag him to court for levelling allegations of corruption.

“Virbhadra Singh has said that he would consider filing a defamation action against me. He is certainly entitled to do so. In that event I would be pleading truth as defence and cross-examining him on each of these issues,” Jaitley wrote on his Facebook page.

Jaitley said he has already put all the documents in public domain to support his allegations. “I would request the Congress party and in particular its leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to examine this evidence and make a public statement why they feel that Virbhadra Singh is still innocent,” Jaitley added.

Meanwhile,the BJP’s youth wing Tuesday staged a protest in front of Rahul Gandhi’s residence here to register protest against Virbhadra and demanded his sacking from the post of chief minister.

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