Himachal CM meets party leaders in the national capital

Coming to the defence of its six-time Chief Minister from Himachal Pradesh Virbhadra Singh, the Congress on Wednesday maintained that there was nothing new in the charges of corruption being levelled against him and his wife by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Mr. Singh, who is learnt to have been summoned to the Capital by the party high command in the wake of the recent bout of accusation, on Wednesday met party general secretary in-charge of Himachal Pradesh Ambika Soni and former legal department chairman Abhishek Manu Singhvi. His wife and Congress MP Pratibha Singh too met several party leaders at the party headquarters.

Though it was being speculated that Mr. Singh would meet party president Sonia Gandhi to explain his position, the meeting, according to sources, never materialised as she was “indisposed.” Also, Mr. Singh could not get an audience from vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who was stated to be out of station.

Mr. Singh is learnt to have claimed that the charges against him were “politically motivated” and “malicious”.

Since the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley had alleged that the Chief Minister had taken a “bribe” from a private company for extension of a power project, State Industries Minister Mukesh Agnihotri, who accompanied Mr. Singh to Delhi, defended him saying the project in question was cancelled in November after the company defaulted.

He said the project was allotted during the BJP regime in 2002.

The BJP, meanwhile, continued to press for Mr. Singh’s resignation.

The BJP Yuva Morcha chief and MP from Hamirpur Anurag Thakur met Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath and handed over a memorandum demanding action against Mr. Singh and his wife. The BJP leader sought the cancellation of the membership of Mr. Singh from the Assembly and of Ms. Singh from the Lok Sabha.

Action should be taken against the Mr. Singh and his wife for hiding information about his income in the affidavits filed before the EC in last Assembly polls and Mandi Lok Sabha bypoll, he said.

“…Even more grave is the fact that Mr. Singh did not disclose these details in his election affidavit filed during the Vidhan Sabha polls in 2012. He clearly mentions other details of other assets of his wife and children. This is clearly no oversight and because he knew that his disclosure could lead to the establishment of a trial of preferential share allotment in lieu of preferential treatment, he chose to conceal it,” the memorandum read.

It also said that Ms. Singh too did not mention 2,110 shares of unlisted company, and 3.4 lakh shares owned in Tarinin Infrastructure in her affidavit filed during the Mandi bypoll in 2013.