Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arun Jaitely has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Central Bureau of Investigation, citing cases of “corruption” against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and seeking “appropriate action”.
On Monday, Mr. Jaitely said there is evidence to prove “corruption charges” against the Congress leader in three cases, which can best be described as “open and shut”.
“Earlier, too I have written to the Prime Minister about the open and shut cases of corruption against Mr. Virbhadra Singh which pertain to the time when he was the Union Steel Minister [in the UPA government],” Mr. Jaitley said.
Referring to the latest case, Mr. Jaitely accused Mr. Singh of seeking financial help from the promoters of a hydel power project, which has been hanging fire for years.
The BJP leader accused the Himachal Pradesh chief minister of giving extension to the promoters of Venture Energy and Technology Private Limited to complete the hydel power project, despite the fact that the State Government had in 2004 decided to terminate the contract on grounds of default in execution.
“When Mr. Singh again became the Chief Minister, the cabinet granted a 10 month extension to the company to execute the project. The owner Vakamulla Chandrashekhar has given an unsecured loan of Rs. 1.5 crore and Rs. 2.40 crore to Pratibha Singh and Mr. Singh respectively. The same monies were used to invest in shares in the names of his wife, son, daughter and an Official on Special Duty (OSD) who was with him in the Steel Ministry. These shares were invested in a company Tarini Infrastructure Limited, which is also promoted by Mr. Chandrashekhar. There cannot be a stronger case of quid pro quo,” Mr. Jaitely said.
The earlier two cases, Mr. Jaitely said also relate to financial irregularities; in the first case the income tax department had come across a diary indicating payment to someone with the initials “VBS” during a search operation at a steel manufacturing company. He said Mr. Singh was the Minister those days. “It was incumbent of the Income Tax and the CBI to investigate these entries and fix the identity of the said ‘VBS’,” Mr. Jaitley said.
In the second case, Mr. Jaitely said Mr. Singh has reversed his income in the return filed after money was transferred to his account.
Hitting out at Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi for their stance on corruption, Mr. Jaitely said the duo should now specify their stand on the issue of corruption.
“Will these cases make them angry too? Or is their anger contrived and manufactured? This is a test for Congress too, as this will show if their recent outbursts on corruption in Adarsh case was a put on or a genuine reaction,” he said.