NEW DELHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday registered a case of disproportionate assets against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh and raided his official residences in Shimla and Delhi and 11 other places.
Besides Singh and his wife, the CBI has also named businessman Chunni Lal Chauhan and LIC agent Anand Chauhan as accused in the case registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The CBI team swooped on the Chief Minister’s Shimla residence within minutes of his leaving with relatives for Sankat Mochan temple at 7.30 am to solemnise the marriage of his second daughter. The sleuths also carried out raids at his ancestral place — Padam Palace — at Rampur. The agency conducted searches at 13 different locations in Shimla and Solan and New Delhi. The sleuths also carried out searches at his official residence near Jantar Mantar in Delhi and a farm house in Mehrauli in South Delhi. The team raided the premises of a company — Maple Destinations and Dreambuild Pvt Ltd — owned by Singh’s son and his daughter. Virbhadra’s son Vikramaditya Singh and daughter Aprajita Kumari, own 95 per cent and five per cent of Maple respectively.
The sleuths also carried out searches at three other places — two in Shakur Basti and one at Lawrence Road — in Delhi belonging to an alleged hawala dealer. The police raided Hotel Park Inn and office of Universal Apple Associates Private Limited, whose directors are Chunni Lal Chauhan and Sushila Chauhan in Solan.
Terming the CBI action “inhumane and revengeful”, the Congress alleged that the government was targeting opposition leaders by using the CBI against Singh. The BJP sought his immediate resignation in the wake of the CBI action against him.
Incidentally, the Preliminary Enquiry (PE) was completed during the tenure of Ranjit Sinha as the CBI Director and the probe team had in July last year recommended the registration of a regular case.
The CBI move comes after the agency converted the PE into a regular case against Singh, his wife, two private persons and unknown others on the allegations of possession of disproportionate assets. “During searches, incriminating documents, property papers, investments, hard disks, pen drives etc have been recovered,” said the CBI spokesperson Dev Preet Singh.
“This FIR was the outcome of a preliminary enquiry which revealed that the then Union Minister while serving during 2009-2012 had allegedly accumulated assets worth Rs 6.03 crore (approx) in his name and in the name of his family members which were found to be disproportionate to his known sources of income,” the CBI said in a statement.