Graft case: Setback for Virbhadra Singh

Shimla : In a setback for union minister and former chief minister Virbhadra Singh, a trial court in Shimla Tuesday turned down his plea for further investigating a graft case against him and his wife Pratibha Singh.

“The accused has no local standi to demand further investigation. Such powers have to be exercised by the investigating agencies under Section 173 (8) of the Criminal Procedure Code,” Special Judge B.L. Soni said in his order.

He has listed the case March 26 for consideration of charges.

The union minister of micro, small and medium enterprises had sought further investigation into the case as it was “biased and incomplete”.

Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh were booked by state police in 2009 under the Prevention of Corruption Act, for alleged misuse of his official position and criminal misconduct when he was chief minister in 1989.

Special public prosecutor Jiwan Lal Sharma said that “the court found that the investigation is complete and the accused can’t demand further investigation”.

The prosecution filed the charge sheet against Virbhadra Singh and his wife in the court of Soni in October 2010.

The couple was booked Aug 3, 2009, on the basis of an audio CD released by his political adversary Vijai Singh Mankotia in 2007.

In the CD, Virbhadra Singh was purportedly heard referring to some monetary transactions while talking on the phone to Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Mahinder Lal, who is now deceased. It also contained the voices of Pratibha Singh and some industrialists.

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