Corruption case: Virbhadra Singh asked to appear in courtOctober 23rd, 2010 - 7:42 pm ICT by IANS
Shimla, Oct 23 (IANS) A local court Saturday asked union Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh to be present in court Nov 27 in a corruption case registered against him by the state’s vigilance and anti-corruption bureau, officials said.
Special court judge B.L. Soni directed Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh, a former member of parliament (MP), to be present in court during proceedings next month.
Special Public Prosecutor Jiwan Lal Sharma told IANS that the judge took cognisance of the charge sheet filed by the bureau.
“Virbhadra Singh’s counsel have also submitted some material relating to the case in the court and the court accepted it,” he said.
The charge sheet was filed by the bureau against them Oct 1, hours after the Himachal Pradesh High Court dismissed his petition to transfer a corruption case against him to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Earlier, a division bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Deepak Gupta observed that it was not a fit case for transferring to the CBI.
Virbhadra Singh had sought the transfer to CBI under Article 226 of the constitution, which deals with special powers of high courts.
The bench observed that there were mainly two questions as far as the investigation by the CBI was concerned - whether it is an appropriate case, and whether it is at the appropriate stage.
Referring to apex court judgments, the bench said: “It is fairly clear that the answer would depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. There is no straitjacket formula which can be applied in finding an answer.”
“Unless one sees the police report under Section 173 (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for the court to deal with the issue.”
“Unless, the accused-petitioners herein see the challan, it would be difficult for them to choose the further course of action, since several options are available to the accused. It would all depend on the materials collected by the police and presented before the court, be it on authenticity or source,” the bench said.
The bench noted that senior counsel R.S. Cheema (representing Virbhadra Singh) has made an attempt to refer to several lacunae.
“But the position is that nobody has seen what the police report is and without seeing the report, it is not proper for this court in exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 226 of the constitution to decide as to whether it is an appropriate case and whether it is the appropriate stage for the court to issue a direction for change of the investigating agency.”
Virbhadra Singh had petitioned the high court that the government registered a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act against him and his wife Aug 3, 2008, after Prem Kumar Dhumal became chief minister in December 2007, on the basis of an audio CD released by his political adversary Vijai Singh Mankotia in 2007.
In the CD, Virbhadra Singh was purportedly heard referring to some monetary transactions, while talking on the phone with Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Mahinder Lal, who is now deceased. The CD also contained the voices of his wife and some industrialists.
Earlier, a single bench of the high court Sep 3 turned down the minister’s petition to transfer the case to the CBI under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
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Tags: apex court, bureau officials, cbi, central bureau of investigation, challan, corruption bureau, corruption case, court judgments, deepak gupta, division bench, high courts, himachal pradesh, kurian, local court, member of parliament, public prosecutor, shimla, straitjacket, union steel, virbhadra singh