NEW DELHI: CBI today carried out searches at 11 places in connection with an alleged disproportionate assets case against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, an action evoking sharp criticism from Congress which termed it as "inhumane and revengeful".
The searches at Delhi, Shimla and others places started within minutes of the 81-year-old Singh leaving his official residence for Sankat Mochan temple here at 7.30 AM to solemnise marriage of his second daughter.
The CBI had registered a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) against Singh and his family members for allegedly amassing wealth of Rs 6.1 crore disproportionate to their known sources of income while serving as Union Minister of Steel in the UPA regime.
The PE, which named Singh, his wife Pratibha Singh, son Vikramaditya Singh, daughter Aparajita Singh and an LIC agent Anand Chauhan, was recently converted into a regular case and the agency filed an FIR with a designated court here under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
It is alleged that he got an unexplained income during the period 2009-11 when he was serving as the Minister of Steel in the UPA Government, the sources said.
During this period, Singh is alleged to have invested Rs 6.1 crore in life insurance policies in his and his family members' names through LIC agent Chauhan, they said.
Terming the action as "highly vindictive", senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said it is part of "Prime Minister Narendra Modi's hate agenda and political vendetta against Congress Party and its leaders (which) has reached its zenith today with CBI raids at the residence of India’s senior most Chief Minister".
Azad told reporters said the action has set a "shocking example of politics stooping to its lowest ebb", as the CBI moved in at a time when his daughter was getting married.
"On one side, entire family including guests from bride and bridegroom’s sides were proceeding to the temple for marriage. Modi government, blinded by personal revenge, was raiding the residence of Singh.
"Modi government’s lust for settling political rivalry has made it alien to India’s culture and tradition of not disrupting marriage of a daughter. This inhumane, cruel and revengeful behaviour is characteristic of personal style of the Prime Minister," Azad, who is the leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, said.
The 18-member raiding team arrived at Singh's residence in five vehicles, minutes after Singh and his family members left for the marriage of his daughter.
The Chief Minister and his family members returned home after a simple marriage ceremony around 11 AM but did not speak to the media waiting outside his residence.
Reacting to the developments, state BJP leader Suresh Bharadwaj and party spokesman Ganesh Dutt demanded immediate resignation of the Chief Minister.
"We have been demanding his resignation for a long time after the corruption cases against Singh and his family members surfaced and he should step down immediately," they said.
The entire cabinet of Himachal Pradesh had issued a joint statement yesterday accusing the BJP-led NDA government of using pressure tactics to destabilise the Congress government in the state.