The former Union Minister and Himachal Pradesh Congress chief, Virbhadra Singh, has expressed regret for losing his composure while talking to media persons on Tuesday. “I have always maintained cordial relations with the media and my intention was not to hurt anyone,” he said on Wednesday.
In Kullu, a visibly perturbed Mr. Singh had threatened to break cameras when journalists asked him about income tax evasion and money laundering allegations levelled by BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley.
The AICC too had apologised for his behaviour. However, while terming his outburst unfortunate, it said he had reacted under pressure. “Such things happen in the midst of an election campaign when one is undergoing physical and mental pressure,” party spokesperson Sandeep Dixit said.
Mr. Singh said his entire income was from horticulture and apple orchard and attributed its steep increase to professional management by experts. “I have negligible income from any other source.”
He also slammed Mr. Jaitley. “He has no right to assess my income tax returns,” he said. Dismissing the BJP’s charges, he said he had never resorted to tax evasion, money laundering or forgery. He had submitted all his profit details to the income tax department. “Let the IT department contact me. How has this become a concern of BJP leader Arun Jaitley, who should be more concerned about his own leader Gadkari?” On Ispat company’s “VBS files,” he said the charges were entirely fabricated. “I have already demanded a CBI inquiry into the matter and welcome a probe.”
Mr. Singh said it was because of the upcoming Assembly elections that the Opposition was attacking him. He would file defamation cases since the charges amounted to character assassination. He singled out Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and said he was hiding behind Mr. Jaitley.