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DA case: Delhi HC dismisses Himachal CM Virbhadra Singh’s plea against CBI

LiveMint logoLiveMint 31-03-2017 Priyanka Mittal

New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Friday dismissed a plea by Virbhadra Singh, chief minister of Himachal Pradesh, seeking quashing of an FIR by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against him and his wife in connection with a disproportionate assets (DA) case.

“Plea is dismissed.” said Justice Vipin Sanghi while denying relief to the chief minister and his wife.

As a result, the investigating agency would be free to continue probe against Singh and his wife for alleged disproportionate assets held by them.

It was held that it was not mandatory for the CBI to seek consent of the state government of Himachal Pradesh under provisions of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act at the time of registering the FIR due to which it could not be quashed.

Virbhadra and his wife Pratibha Singh had challenged the FIR for allegedly amassing property worth Rs6 crore between 2009 and 2012 when he served as the Union steel minister.

“Since the case has been registered in Delhi by the CBI, if the investigation has been conducted in the state of Himachal Pradesh, it would not dilute the basic structure of the Constitution,” the 133-page judgment held.

It was contended by Singh that the CBI was not authorized to inquire, investigate and had overstepped its jurisdiction by registering the case in New Delhi and probing him.

The plea further claimed that raids on his private residence and other premises were conducted with “malafide intentions and political vendetta” by the central investigating agency.

The CBI, on the other hand, had contended that the allegations against Singh were of very serious nature as huge amounts of money was involved.

It further clarified its jurisdiction to register and investigate the case in Delhi as the disproportionate assets were allegedly acquired by the Congress leader from the income generated at Delhi when he was a Union minister during the UPA regime.

The apex court had transferred Singh’s plea from Himachal Pradesh high court to the Delhi high court, saying it was not expressing any opinion on the merits of the case and was simply transferring the petition in the furtherance of interest of justice.

The FIR registered against him and his wife by the CBI was made under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and the Indian Penal Code, 1960 (IPC).

Virbhadra and his wife are also facing investigation by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on the same issue.

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