Virbhadra Singh seeks speedy trial in graft case

September 7th, 2012 - 5:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, Sep 7 (IANS) The public prosecutor claimed Friday that there were enough indiscriminating evidence for cancelling the bail of former union minister Virbhadra Singh in a graft case, but the latter pleaded innocence and demanded a speedy trial.

Virbhadra Singh’s assertions come at a time when he has been going to the public saying he would come out clean in the corruption case pending against him since 2009.

Five-time chief minister of Himachal Pradesh is already spearheading the Congress party’s campaign ahead of the state’s assembly polls, slated to be held in Nov.

As the case came up for hearing before special judge for vigilance cases B.L. Soni at the district courts of Shimla, the charges were read out to Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh, a former MP.

Pleading innocence, Virbhadra Singh sought directions from the court for a speedy trial in the case.

Special Public Prosecutor Jiwan Lal Sharma, on the other hand, told the court to pass orders for cancelling the former chief minister’s bail.

Seeking an early hearing on the cancellation of bail application, Sharma said that enough evidences were there for the same.

The prosecution application on bail has been pending in the court since April 7, 2011.

The next date for hearing the bail application has been fixed Sep 12.

Friday’s hearing took place for just about 10 minutes in a jam-packed courtroom.

After the hearing, Virbhadra Singh and his wife were taken by the lawyers to the bar room where he was accorded a warm welcome.

The case against the senior Congress leader, who took over as the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee chief in Aug, and his wife was registered in 2009, for alleged misuse of official position and criminal misconduct when he was the chief minister in 1989.

The special judge framed corruption charges against the couple June 25 this year.

The Himachal Pradesh High Court Aug 31 directed the accused to face trial in a lower court.

Allowing Virbhadra Singh to withdraw his petition, a division bench of Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice D. C. Chaudhary had directed the couple and the prosecution to appear in the court of Soni Sep 7.

The petition sought either the transfer of the corruption case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or quashing a police complaint against Virbhadra Singh and his wife.

It also sought that a similar case against Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and Director General of Police D. S. Manhas also be investigated.

Virbhadra Singh resigned as the union minister for micro, small and medium enterprises soon after charges were framed in the 23-year-old corruption case.

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