‘Not the first time I have been targeted by the BJP’

Facing a plethora of corruption charges, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Thursday filed defamation cases against Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, the former Chief Minister, Prem Kumar Dhumal, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha national president Anurag Thakur and his brother Arun Dhumal in a local Chief Judicial Magistrate Court.

He alleged that all these leaders had led a malicious campaign against him.

In a press conference where he was accompanied by Congress leaders, Mr. Singh disclosed that he filed three defamation suits under Section 499 of the IPC against the senior BJP leaders.

The CJM has fixed the case for hearing on February 15.

Mr. Singh alleged that various vital facts from his income tax returns were concealed from the media. He said it was not the first time that he was being targeted by the BJP. “I was also targeted in the Sagar Katha case in the first tenure of Prem Kumar Dhumal and later in the audio cassette case in his second tenure. But I never registered any cases against Mr. Dhumal, despite complaints,” he said.

The Chief Minister said he was given a clean chit by the CBI on a charge sheet filed by the BJP earlier and would also come out clean now.

Mr. Singh has again challenged the BJP to approach the State Lokayukta with all its charges against him. But the BJP has preferred to launch a “Virbhadra hatao abhiyan” in the State and organise protests at all the district headquarters.

“We will make it a national issue and send the charge sheet against Singh and his government to the President,” Mr. Dhumal maintained.

The BJP will organise a rally on February 16, which will be addressed by Narendra Modi, to highlight the corruption charges.