Court rejects Virbhadra’s plea seeking CBI probe in CD case

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh High Court today dismissed the petition of Union Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh seeking virbhadra transfer of investigation in a corruption case against him to the CBI, paving the way for filing of a charge-sheet against him.

Dismissing the petition, a division bench of High Court comprising Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Deepak Gupta, said it was neither an appropriate case nor in a stage to grant the prayer to transfer the investigation to the CBI from state vigilance bureau.

“Since the investigation is in progress in the said case, we do not propose to make any further comment on that and it is unnecessary for us to go into that matter, at this stage. Under the circumstances, we do not find it as the appropriate stage for the petitioners to invoke extraordinary jurisdiction of this court under Article 226 of Constitution as an appropriate case for change of investigating agency,” the court ruled.

The case is under investigation but the position is that nobody has seen what the police report is and without seeing the police report, it is not proper for this court in exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution to decide as to whether it is an appropriate case and whether it is the appropriate stage for the Court to issue a direction for change of investigating agency,” the division bench observed.

The rejection of the petition had paved way for filing a charge-sheet against him in the court of Special Judge, Shimla as all stays granted earlier, restraining the government from filing the charge-sheet also stand vacated.

In the petition, Virbhadra Singh had pleaded that after Prem Kumar Dhumal became chief minister of Himachal in December 2007, the government registered a case against him and his wife on August 3, 2008, under the Prevention of Corruption Act on the basis of an audio CD released by his political adversary Vijay Singh Mankotia in May 2007.

According to police, Virbhadra Singh was heard allegedly referring to some monetary transactions on phone with late IAS officer Mahinder Lal.The CD also allegedly contained the voices of his wife and some industrialists.

Singh had earlier filed a similar petition which was dismissed by Justice Kuldeep Singh on September 4 but immediate implementation of the judgment was stayed for two weeks to enable him to approach the appropriate court. Before the expiry of the deadline, Singh filed another petition which was dismissed today by division bench.

The Vigilance Bureau is ready with the charge-sheet which is likely to be filed today itself, a vigilance official said.

Full High Court judgment can be read here.

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