Under attack from BJP over alleged corruption, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Monday asked state BJP leader Prem Kumar Dhumal to go to the Lokayukta to make whatever charges he wanted against him or anybody else, saying, "We will face the consequences there." "If he (Dhumal) has anything to say against me, as I said earlier also, he should go to the Lokayukta," Singh told reporters here.
Noting that Himachal Pradesh was one of those states where Lokayukta was set up long back, the Chief Minister said, "During my tenure and at present, we have an eminent Lokayukta who is a retired judge of the Supreme Court.
"Let him (Dhumal) go there make whatever charges he wants to make against me or anybody else and we will face the consequences there rather than running state to state, house to house. This is not going to serve any purpose." BJP had yesterday questioned the "silence" of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi over corruption allegations against Singh and dared the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister to agree to a CBI probe into the charges which he has dubbed as politically motivated.
"The Congress Party and Virbhadra Singh have decided to brazen out the allegations of corruption. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi will hide behind silence," Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley had said on his blog.
Hitting back, Singh had said that both Jaitley and former Chief Minister Dhumal had "deliberately suppressed relevant facts" in their press conferences to suit their "ulterior political motive".
"They have made selective opportunist disclosures and tried to mislead by twisting and concealing vital facts," Singh had said dismissing the allegations levelled against him by them as being "false, frivolous and fabricated".
"The accusations are preposterous and politically motivated," Singh had said.
Noting that the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister has dared anyone to either lodge an FIR against him or to prove the allegations of corruption, Jaitley had said that his letter to the CBI Director on December 29 in this regard constituted an FIR.
"In order to investigate the same, the consent of the state government under section 6 of the Delhi Special Police (Establishment) Act is required.
"I dare the state Government of Himachal Pradesh to give its consent so that an investigation into these allegations can also take place," he had said.
Jaitley's hard hitting remarks on the Congress leadership had come amid indications that Congress has decided to fight out the issue backing Virbhadra Singh and dubbing the allegations as part of the opposition's conspiracy against him.
The BJP leader had said two allegations against the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister were already being investigated by CBI as per his understanding.
It was the third allegation relating to his dealings with a power company which now required to be "investigated and proved", Jaitley had said.
He had alleged that Singh, his family members and their company had received interest free loan from the promoter of a power company, which had transactions with the Himachal government.
Talking to PTI, the Chief Minister said, "Lokayukta, headed by a retired Supreme Court judge, is the appropriate forum for filing complaints in cases of corruptions against people in high offices and instead of making vague and unsubstantiated charges in the media, Dhumal should go to the Lokayukta".
The Lokayukta act was passed by the Dhumal government and the former chief minister should maintain the dignity of the office of Lokayukta by expressing confidence and faith in the institution, he said.
Singh also rejected the demand for his resignation and said that he was ready to face any probe but not resign merely in the basis of "false and frivolous" charges levelled against him.
The entire Himachal cabinet had yesterday asked Dhumal to approach the lokayukta for probing the charges against the Chief Minister and other ministers.
However, Dhumal has rejected the demand, saying, "We want expeditious probe into the allegations for which CBI is the appropriate agency".
He said all options are open for BJP but such matters are decided by courts or any other agency after considerable laps of time and reiterated his demand for resignation of the chief minister on moral grounds to facilitate impartial probe.
BJP has already launched a ten-day campaign for ouster of Singh and CBI probe into charge sheet submitted by the party to the governor and also urged the governor to sack Singh.
Congress has also stepped up the attack against Dhumal and urged the chief minister to expedite the probe into affairs of Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA), headed by BJP MP, Anurag Thakur, elder son of Dhumal.