CBI probe a ploy to tarnish Virbhadra, says Congress

Shimla, June 19 (IANS) Expressing solidarity with Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, the state Congress on Friday accused the BJP-led central government of trying to destabilise the duly elected non-BJP state governments in the country.

It said the registration of a preliminary inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against Virbhadra Singh was a ploy to tarnish the former union minister’s image.

“The BJP is pressurising and misusing the investigating agencies to harass its political opponents,” state cabinet ministers Vidya Stokes, Kaul Singh, G.S. Bali and Mukesh Agnihotri said in a statement.

They said the Centre was indulging in political witchhunt and deliberately targetting Virbhadra Singh at the behest of former BJP chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, who is facing many cases himself.

Saying that there was nothing new in the allegations against Virbhadra Singh, the Congress leaders said these allegations were levelled by the BJP during the 2012 assembly elections in the state.

“The CBI after a detailed inquiry has submitted its inquiry report to the Delhi High Court in a sealed cover. It’s strange that instead of waiting for the outcome of the matter pending before the court, the CBI has proceeded to register a preliminary enquiry against the chief minister,” they said.

The statement came as the CBI on Thursday initiated a preliminary inquiry against Virbhadra and his family over allegations of corruption and acquiring assets disproportionate to their known sources of income during his tenure as union steel minister.

Official sources told IANS that the CBI restarted the preliminary inquiry on the basis of the Income Tax department order that said the agricultural income of Virbhadra Singh and his family dramatically increased in the revised returns, which was an apparent attempt to justify the investments made in the purchase of insurance policies worth over Rs.6.1 crore.

Virbhadra Singh has refuted the allegations.

In a statement in Shimla, Virbhadra Singh said he had already submitted his income tax details to the Income Tax authorities and the matter was being looked into at various levels.

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