Virbhadra accused of corruption; he cries vendetta

New Delhi/Shimla, July 23 (IANS) Senior BJP leader and union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday accused Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh of receiving bribe from a private company in the garb of an unsecured loan.

However, Virbhadra Singh described the allegations as “political vendetta”.

Addressing a press conference in Delhi, the union minister for communications and information technology said that Virbhadra Singh snipped off crores of rupees as unsecured loan.

“Venture Energy Technology Private Limited, whose project was revived by Virbhadra Singh…and after a while, the owner of the company gave Rs.1.5 crore as unsecured loan to the chief minister’s wife and Rs.2.4 crore to the chief minister,” he said.

Prasad said Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi “who has been speaking so much these days”, should comment on this as well.

“It was nothing but bribery in the name of unsecured loan as the chief minister helped the company,” Prasad said.

Challenging Rahul Gandhi, the BJP leader said, “He who speaks a lot these days” should come clear on the charges he has made.

“Congress president Sonia Gandhi does not speak much, but Rahul Gandhi speaks a lot these days,” the union minister said, referring to Rahul Gandhi’s allegations against the BJP-led NDA government.

Prasad also charged Virbhadra Singh with evading income tax by indulging in corrupt practices.

“In his apple orchard business, he has shown (in records) that apples were transported by two-wheelers and small cars,” he said, and again asked Rahul Gandhi to speak on it.

Virbhadra Singh rejected the charges and described the attack as “political vendetta”.

“The matter regarding my income tax returns is pending before the Delhi High Court and in various appellate authorities in the income tax department and tribunal,” the chief minister said in a statement in Shimla.

The chief minister said he had already submitted his income tax details to authorities concerned and the matter was being looked into by the high court where detailed reply has been filed by the CBI and the income tax department.

It was inappropriate for anybody to comment on the matter as it was sub judice, he added.

The chief minister advised the Bharatiya Janata Party to wait for the decision of the high court.

Virbhadra Singh said the BJP was “totally exposed” on the issue of corruption involving its senior leaders but the BJP was turning a blind eye towards that.

He said the Congress leaders were being targeted by the BJP leaders with a motive to divert public attention from their own wrongdoings.

The chief minister said the allegations levelled by Prasad were the same as raised by the BJP during the 2012 assembly elections and much hype was created about these.

He said these allegations have been inquired into in detail and a report in sealed cover was lying with the Delhi High Court.

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