A special court would decide on Monday whether to take cognisance of a CBI charge sheet against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh for allegedly amassing disproportionate assets worth around Rs 10 crore. Special judge Virender Kumar Goyal, who was scheduled to take up the matter today, put up the case for May 8. The charge sheet, running into over 500 pages, claims that Singh had amassed assets worth around Rs 10 crore which were disproportionate by 192 per cent to his total income during his tenure as a Union minister. The final report, filed against Singh and eight other persons for alleged offences punishable under sections 109 (abetment) and 465 (punishment for forgery) of IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act, arrayed around 225 witnesses and 442 documents. Besides the 82-year-old Congress leader and his wife Pratibha Singh, the report also arrayed Chunni Lal Chauhan, Joginder Singh Ghalta, Prem Raj, Vakamulla Chandrasekhar, Lawan Kumar Roach and Ram Prakash Bhatia as accused.
The report also named as accused LIC agent Anand Chauhan who is currently in judicial custody. The Delhi High Court today denied bail to Chauhan, saying there is “no merit” in his plea. Chauhan was arrested by Enforcement Directorate on July 9 last year in a separate money laundering case related to the present case. The matter was transferred by the Supreme Court to the Delhi High Court, which on April 6, 2016 had asked the CBI not to arrest Singh and had directed him to join the probe. On November 5 last year, the apex court had transferred Singh’s plea from the Himachal Pradesh High Court to the Delhi High Court, saying it was not expressing any opinion on the merits of the case, but “simply” transferring the petition “in interest of justice and to save the institution (judiciary) from any embarrassment”.