Under attack from BJP on corruption charges, Himachal Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh today filed three defamation cases against Arun Jaitley and other party leaders, accusing them of unleashing a malicious campaign against him and his family through media to tarnish his image.
The Congress leader said he has filed a defamation case under Section 499 of IPC against Jaitley, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, and former state chief minister P K Dhumal and two separate petitions against BJP MP Anurag Thakur and Arun Dhumal, son P K Dhumal, in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Shimla, Jyotsana Dhadwal.
The CJM fixed the hearing on February 15. Alleging political vendetta against him, 79-year-old Virbhadra Singh said it was not for the first time that he had been personally targeted by Dhumal.
He said that when he came to power there were numerous complaints against Dhumal and other BJP leaders. But he decided "not to continue the bad practice of political vendetta and victimisation started by Dhumal as he did not want make Himachal Pradesh another Punjab or Tamil Nadu. Not even a single case was registered against BJP leaders," he said.
Singh went to the districts courts near Chakkar accompanied by some ministers and supporters and after filing the defamation complaints addressed the media in the presence of ministerial colleagues, chairpersons of boards and corporation and other senior Congress leaders. Singh claimed that during his first term, Dhumal implicated him in Sagar Kattha case and the CD case was filed during the last term but he was exonerated by the court both the times.
"Dhumal Government submitted a 24-point charge sheet against me to the CBI in 1998. I was again given a clean chit by the agency after investigations at a time when NDA was in power at the centre," he told reporters. Jaitley had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh alleging that Virbhadra Singh had taken bribe from a private power company and had demanded a CBI inquiry, calling it an "open and shut case of corruption", but the Chief Minister had denied the charges and threatened to sue him.
Jaitley had dared the CM to file the defamation case and had said he would cross examine him in court on each of the charges.