In a major relief to Himachal Chief Minister-designate Virbhadra Singh, a court in Shimla on Mon acquitted him of charges of corruption and conspiracy in the much-publicised audio CD case, a day before his swearing in for the office for a record sixth time.

“No case is made out as not even a single witness supported the prosecution evidence,” Special Judge B L Soni said pronouncing the judgement in an open court absolving the Congress leader in over 23-year-old case after a trial that started in September.

The 78-year-old Mr. Singh, who had gone to Delhi to consult AICC president Sonia Gandhi and other leaders in connection with formation of his ministry, rushed to the court after landing at Annandale helipad.

He was present in the jam-packed court when the judgement was delivered.

The case related to an audio CD that allegedly contained a conversation of Mr. Singh and his wife with IAS officer Mohinder Lal and some industrialists regarding monetary transactions for them to invest in the state.

Charges of conspiracy and corruption were framed by the court on June 25, this year, following which Mr. Singh had resigned as Union Steel Minister.

The court had framed charges against Singh and his wife under Section 120 B (conspiracy) of IPC and Sections 7, 11 and 13 of Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA), dealing with bribery and criminal misconduct.

The Special Judge started regular trial in the case from September this year and the last hearing was held on December 22.

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