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Congress readies red card for Virbhadra

Sunday, 12 January 2014 - 11:05am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

With the CBI moving towards filing charge sheet against Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh  in a graft case, he will be a stumbling block in party vice president Rahul Gandhi’s crusade against corruption. Consequently, the party has made it clear to Singh that he would have to go if he is   booked by investigation agencies.

The CBI has already questioned Singh’s aide Anand Chauhan during its probe and claimed that once they get some credible information, they will not hesitate to register a Regular Case in the matter.

While Rahul has been speaking against corruption, it may be difficult for the Congress to go into the next elections with Singh still in the chair and the BJP gunning for him. The recent round of allegations against the chief minister were first made by BJP leader Arun Jaitley, showing BJP’s interest in the matter.

Singh, who was summoned by the party to defend his case told the High Command that there was no  hanky-panky in the financial transactions since it was all done through the bank. He also claimed that like any other business deal, he and his family had taken the so called unsecured loan at a fixed rate, which he has repaying regularly.

In the meeting,  Himachal chief minister drew a parallel between the allegations against him and the various charges against Robert Vadra.

Singh has been directed by the party’s top leadership to facilitate investigation and not to hinder the investigating agencies. 

However, Singh is not an easy person to drop, conisdering his clout in Himachal Pradesh. Also the Congress does not have too many options and so the party is in a dilemma.

Here is a list of some dubious transactions of Singh  made through  companies owned by his family members:

Charge 1: The CBI is probing alleged payments of Rs 2.8 crore by a Mumbai based steel firm, to a person with the initials ‘VBS’. There were four entries made to the listed beneficiary -- ‘VBS’--which totalled up to Rs 2.8 crore from October, 2009 to October, 2010.  Singh was Steel Minister from May 28, 2009 to January 18, 2011. 

Charge 2: While investigating, the CBI has recorded statement of insurance agent Anand Chouhan, who is said to have deposited Rs five crore in the bank account of Singh and his family towards buying life insurance policies. 

Charge 3: In 2002, the HP government had allotted a hydel power project at Sai Kothi to M/s Venture Energy & Technology Pvt. Ltd.“The said company defaulted in the execution of the project and the state government granted several extensions to the company. And Virbhadra singh as the chief minister of the state granted it a further extension of 10 months. “It turns out that the decision was a result of quid pro quo,”PIL filed by the Prashant Bhushan claimed

Charge 4: Pratibha Singh, wife of Virbhadra Singh in her affidavit filed while contesting Lok Sabha by-election had disclosed that Vakamulla Chandrasekhar had given an unsecured loan of Rs. 1.50 crore to her and Rs. 2.40 crore to Virbhadra Singh. V. Chandrasekhar is the director of M/s Venture Energy.

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