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Posted at: Feb 13, 2018, 12:24 AM; last updated: Feb 13, 2018, 12:24 AM (IST)

Ex-CM gets 4 weeks to reply to CBI

Ex-CM gets 4 weeks to reply to CBI
Virbhadra Singh

Satya Prakash

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 12

The Supreme Court today gave four weeks to former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh to respond to a petition filed by the CBI challenging a limited part of the Delhi High Court’s verdict dismissing his plea for quashing of a disproportionate assets case.

A Bench headed by Justice RK Agrawal — which had on January 4 issued notice to Singh on the CBI’s petition in four weeks — gave him further time after senior counsel Kapil Sibal submitted on behalf of the former CM that he needed more time.

On the last date of hearing, Additional Solicitor General PS Narasimha had clarified to the Bench that the CBI’s challenge was limited to a particular portion of the Delhi HC verdict in which it questioned the procedure followed during the probe with regard to the state’s consent.

“The issue whether such consent had been obtained generally, or specifically, as well as the issue as to what is the effect of the investigation conducted, if any, without obtaining the prior consent of the government of Himachal Pradesh, cannot be determined in the present proceedings and would fall for consideration, if and when a chargesheet is filed before the learned special judge,” the HC had said in its March 31, 2017, order.

However, the high court had refused to quash the disproportionate assets case against Singh and his wife, rejecting their contention that the FIR was a result of “political vendetta”.

Interestingly, the Supreme Court had in October 2017 dismissed Singh’s plea to quash a disproportionate assets case registered by the CBI against him and his wife.

In an order passed after an in-chamber hearing on October 23, Justice Deepak Gupta had dismissed Singh’s petition after his counsel failed to “cure” the “defects” pointed out by the Supreme Court’s registry. According to the court order, Singh’s Advocate-on-Record was not present during the hearing.

Singh had moved the Supreme Court in April last year against Delhi High Court order dismissing his plea to quash the disproportionate assets case registered by the CBI against him and his wife.

Singh had termed the action taken against him “a well-planned conspiracy to damage his public image in the run up to the Assembly elections”. He had alleged the corruption case against him was a result of political vendetta.

In his petition filed in the top court, Singh had wondered as to how the CBI could register a case against him without the state’s consent — which was a pre-requisite under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act. Singh has maintained that the CBI overstepped its jurisdiction in filing the case as the cause of action did not arise in the territory of Delhi.

Contending that on the same set of facts the agency had earlier conducted a preliminary enquiry and closed the case, Singh had questioned the CBI’s decision to reopen the case.

The CBI had registered the FIR against Virbhadra Singh and his wife under Sections 13(2) and 13(1)(e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 109 of IPC on September 23, 2015.

It had accused him of amassing assets worth Rs 6 crore between 2009 and 2012 during his tenure as Union Steel Minister in the UPA-II government.


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