Graft case: Shimla court summons Virbhadra Singh, wife (Lead)October 23rd, 2010 - 9:36 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.
The court observed that “there are sufficient grounds to proceed against Virbhadra Singh and (his wife) Pratibha Singh (a former member of parliament) under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988″.
Virbhadra Singh is accused of misusing his official position when he was chief minister in 1989. The couple was booked Aug 3, 2009 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 to Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Mahinder Lal, who is now deceased. It also contained the voices of Pratibha Singh and some industrialists.
Special court judge B.L. Soni said that “there is no ground for ordering any further investigation in the case as material witnesses like Piyush Jain and Suresh Kapoor have died”.
“The material on record suggests meeting of minds of accused and Pratibha Singh and she has sufficient authority over Virbhadra Singh and the state machinery. Therefore, attendant circumstances are sufficient to proceed in this case,” he observed.
Special Public Prosecutor Jiwan Lal Sharma told IANS that the judge Saturday took cognisance of the charge sheet filed by the bureau.
The charge sheet against them was filed Oct 1, hours after the Himachal Pradesh High Court dismissed his petition to transfer the 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 under Article 226 of the constitution, which deals with special powers of high courts.
Earlier, a single bench of the high court Sep 3 turned down the minister’s petition to transfer the case to CBI under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
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Tags: bureau officials, central bureau of investigation, corruption bureau, corruption case, court summons, deepak gupta, division bench, graft case, himachal pradesh, indian administrative service, kurian, material witnesses, meeting of minds, member of parliament, monetary transactions, prevention of corruption act, public prosecutor, state machinery, union steel, wife lead