New Delhi, April 24
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s wife Pratibha Singh on Monday told the court that the CBI did not follow proper procedure while conducting a probe into a disproportionate assets case against her and others.
Pratibha’s defence counsel told Special Judge Virender Kumar Goyal that as per the Delhi High Court guidelines, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) should have sought permission from the Himachal Pradesh government before conducting an investigation against her and others in the case.
The counsel requested the court to consider whether the investigating agency followed the high court guidelines or not before taking cognisance of the chargesheet.
“In view of the aforesaid facts and circumstances, it is most respectfully prayed that order dated March 31, 2017 passed by the high court be complied with by expressly deciding as to whether the material relied upon by the CBI in instant chargesheet, which has been collected during investigation in Himachal Pradesh without taking approval or permission of the government of Himachal Pradesh, be considered for the purpose of cognizance,” the plea filed by Pratibha Singh stated. The court has directed the CBI to file a reply to the plea and listed the matter for next hearing on May 1.
Besides Virbhadra Singh and his wife, Life Insurance Corporation agent Anand Chauhan, his associate Chunni Lal, Joginder Singh Ghalta, Prem Raj, Lawan Kumar Roach, Vakamullah Chandrashekhara and Ram Prakash Bhatia have been chargesheeted in the case.
The CBI had booked the accused on the charge of abetment of crime and forgery under the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The CBI had registered the case on September 23, 2015, after a preliminary inquiry found that Virbhadra Singh, during his term as the Union Steel Minister from 2009 to 2012, allegedly accumulated assets worth Rs 6.03 crore, which were disproportionate to his known sources of income.
New Delhi, April 24