NEW DELHI: Delhi High Court today reserved its verdict on the plea of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh, seeking quashing of FIR lodged against them in connection with a disproportionate assets case.
Justice Vipin Sanghi concluded the hearing on the pleas, which claimed that there was no order, direction or judgment by any court that had authorised the CBI to inquire, investigate or register regular cases and exercise jurisdiction in the territory of Himachal Pradesh.
The Chief Minister has pleaded during the hearing that the raids on his private residence and other premises here were conducted with "malafide intentions and political vendetta" by the central investigating agency.
He has alleged that CBI had overstepped its jurisdiction in filing the case as the cause of action did not arise in the territory of Delhi.
Seeking setting aside of the entire process of CBI investigations and case filed against him and his wife, their counsel argued that the permission of the state government and Home Department was not sought before raiding the residence of a sitting Chief Minister.
Opposing their contentions, CBI had earlier said the allegations against Singh in the case are "very serious" as a huge amount of money was involved and the state government has shown "over anxiety" in protecting him.
It had said that they had jurisdiction to register and investigate the case in Delhi as the disproportionate assets were allegedly acquired by the Congress leader from the income generated here when he was a Union minister during UPA regime.
Singh had already got an interim order from the Himachal Pradesh High Court (HC) on October 1, 2015 restraining the agency from arresting, interrogating or filing a charge sheet in the case without its permission.
The matter, in which the Himachal Pradesh HC had passed the interim order, was transferred by the Supreme Court to the Delhi HC, which on April 6 this year had asked the CBI not to arrest Singh and directed him to join the probe.
On November 5 last year, the apex court had transferred Singh's plea from Himachal Pradesh HC to Delhi HC, saying it was not expressing any opinion on the merits of the case, but "simply" transferring the petition "in interest of justice and to save the institution (judiciary) from any embarrassment".
CBI had moved the apex court seeking transfer of the case here and setting aside of the interim order granting Singh protection from arrest and other relief given to him.
Singh has sought directions from the court to quash the FIR registered against him and his wife under Sections 13(2) and 13(1)(e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 109 of IPC by CBI on September 23 last year here and urged the court to summon record of the preliminary inquiry and the FIR.
The petition has said the CBI had acted without jurisdiction by conducting probe into alleged offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act against the highest democratically elected constitutional functionary in the state without any consent from the state government, a pre-requisite under Section 6 of Delhi Special Establishment Act.