The Delhi High Court Wednesday directed the CBI to speed up a probe against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh into allegations of corruption against him.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul expressed displeasure at the status report submitted by the Central Bureau of Investigation on corruption, money laundering and possession of assets disproportionate to know sources of income of Virbhadra Singh.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for petitioner NGO Common Cause, told the court there were some recent instances of money laundering and corruption by Virbhadra Singh's family members.
The court asked the CBI to respond to the fresh allegations, and posted the matter for April 30.
NGO Common Cause had moved the court seeking inquiry into the corruption allegations against Virbhadra Singh when he was union steel minister.
It had further sought a court-monitored investigation by the CBI or a Special Investigation Team (SIT) into the allegations.
The plea stated there were several primary documents like income tax returns and affidavits filed with nomination papers linking the Congress leader to "dubious transactions" and investments involving large sums of money when he was a minister in the central government.
But neither the government nor any of its agencies bothered to initiate an investigation even after they were formally requested to do so by the petitioner, Bhushan said.
He said he made detailed complaints to the chief vigilance commissioner (CVC) and the CBI Jan 11.
"Several acts of money laundering, corruption, possession of disproportionate assets and criminal misconduct were allegedly committed by Virbhadra Singh, which warrant a thorough and impartial investigation. But the same has not been initiated despite well documented complaints made by the petitioner," the plea said.
It said that even the allegations fully supported by primary documents and which have been in public domain for months were not probed.
The plea sought direction to the CBI and the income tax department to initiate an investigation under the supervision of the court or the CVC into the charges of "money laundering, corruption, possession of disproportionate assets, criminal misconduct against Virbhadra Singh".
The petition said Virbhadra Singh filed IT returns for assessment years 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12, showing agricultural income of Rs.7,35,000, Rs.15,00,000 and Rs.25,00,000, respectively. This income is exempt under the IT Act.
"In 2012, in order to explain the unaccounted money, Virbhadra Singh filed revised IT returns for assessment year 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 showing revised agricultural income, showing an increase of 18 to 30 fold of income in the three years."
"The total increase in agricultural income amounted to Rs.6.1 crore," the petition said.