Shimla: Union steel minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh were granted bail in a corruption case by a special court here today and were also exempted from personal appearance in the matter.
After the hearing public prosecutor Jiwan Lal Sharma let the media know that the conditional bail had been granted to the couple who gave an undertaking that witnesses in the case would not be influenced.
The case came up before special judge BL Soni and a copy of the challan (charges) made out by the prosecution was handed over to the union minister and his wife. In response to an application the judge exempted the two from personal appearance before listing the next hearing in the case for 5 March.
The case pertains to a prevention of corruption case made out by the state vigilance and anti corruption bureau after taking cognizance of telephonic conversations allegedly recorded in the early 1990â€™s, an audio CD of which was made public by Vijay Singh Mankotia, a former congressman and cabinet colleague, just before a crucial parliamentary bye-election in May 2007.
A case was registered on 3 August, 2009 against Virbhadra, whose has been chief minister for five terms, since 1983. The union minister had challenged both the registration of the case and investigation before the High Court but after his plea for a CBI investigation in the matter was turned down on 1 October, the police were permitted to place the chargesheet before the special court.
The contentious CDs are alleged to contain conversations that Virbhadra Singh and Pratibha Singh had with deceased bureaucrat Mohinder Lal, in which alleged references to illegal money transactions are said to have been made.
Putting up a brave front outside the court, Virbhadra Singh termed the case made out to be political scores. “Such things are not new for me. It is just political vendetta by the Prem Kumar Dhumal led BJP government against me. I will come out clean, said Virbhadra.
Photo by: Amit Kanwar