Virbhadra gets temporary reprieve in CD case

Shimla: Union steel minister Virbhadra Singh got a temporary reprieve in the Himachal High Court today as the presiding judge Kuldip Singh reserved his interim order while maintaining a stay in the CD case, and posted the matter for another day.

For the government, senior counsel Satpal Jain appeared and pleaded before the court to cancel the stay order and let a charge sheet in the CD case be filed with a lower court as investigations had been completed.

Filing of the charge sheet in the lower court has been stayed by the high court in response to an application by Virbhadra Singh seeking quashing of the very FIR in the matter.

Appearing for the union minister senior advocate Rajinder Singh Cheema contended that the case was allegedly made out on mala fide intentions and chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and Director General Police Daljit Manhas be made party to the case over alleged biases that had subsequently surfaced in two audio CD recording’s, wherein the duo are said to be discussing the Virbhadra CD matter.

Cheema also pleaded before the court to get the case investigated by CBI as top functionaries of the state government were involved and the state machinery would not be able to function independently.

After hearing out the arguments for an hour, the judge passed a reserved interim order and posted the case for another day.

The matter relates to the state vigilance and anti-corruption having registered a case over the contents in a CD made public by former congressman Vijay Singh Mankotia in May 2007.

The contentious CD allegedly has recorded phone conversations of Virbhadra Singh, his wife Pratibha Singh with a deceased former bureaucrat Mohinder Lall on it about alleged illegal money transactions.

Holding out that the CD recordings were doctored, Virbhadra had approached the Himachal High Court and sought quashing of the FIR in the matter.

Subsequently, when two additional audio CD’s surfaced in 2009 in which chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and Director General Police Daljit Manhas are allegedly heard to be holding a conversation about the contentious Virbhadra CD, the union minister sought that the duo be made party to the case and their role be got investigated by CBI.

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