Shimla: Launching a frontal attack on chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, union minister Virbhadra Singh demanded a CBI inquiry into land deals by Dhumal family alleging that his sons had illegally bought land from a small and marginal farmer rendering him landless.
Handing out documents to the media of alleged land sale agreements by one 55 year old Premu Ram, a resident of Kaljot in Dharamsala, the union minister said that not only was such a sale illegal but also immoral as it rendered a small farmer landless.
“Papers showed that the land had been sold to Anurag Thakur, who is a BJP MP from Hamirpur and Arun Singh on 17.1.2008 under political pressure. Both Anurag Thakur and Arun Singh happen to be sons of chief minister Dhumal,” Virbhadra Singh let the media know at his residence here today.
With the chief minister family involved the land scam, the case should be enquired by CBI, he said.
Speaking about construction of luxury cottages in a thickly forested area of Shimla, he said that the haste with clearances for construction to Bamloe Builders could not have been possible without the direct involvement of the chief minister.
Though the high end colony is coming up on private lands but funds meant for rural areas having been diverted for construction of an access road was also done at the behest of the chief minister, he said.
Referring to the CAG reports, the union minister said that cases of misuse of central funds by the Dhumal government had been pointed out by the auditor.
The union minister debunked the Lokayukta Bill passed by in the Vidhan Sabha recently saying that even Team Anna members had dismissed it as a weak bill.
Should Congress come to power each case of omission and commission would be inquired into and the Lokayukta Bill would be reviewed, he said.
The BJP government had failed to discharge its duty, he said adding that new road constructions had come to halt; schools were without teachers and hospitals without doctors.
When questioned about the campaign to get the army to vacate Annadale grounds, Virbhadra said that ground being vacated for civilian use was okay but getting to build a concrete structure like a stadium was a definite no.
“The space needed to be kept as an open dale but if there are plans to construct a concrete stadium there then the ground remaining with the army was lesser evil,” he said.
Virbhadra camps show of strength
With union minister Anand Sharma holding a rally at Palampur, a meeting of Congress leaders at the residence of Virbhadra Singh apparently was a show of strength.
However, when Singh questioned denied that there was a rift in the party saying that the function at Palampur was an official function where the foundation stone for a new office complex of Tea Board was laid and the meeting at his residence was a party meeting.
With as many 13 sitting MLAs turning up for the party meeting at Virbhadra residence, the message sent out was that a majority of the 23 Congress MLAs in the current Vidhan Sabha belonged to the camp.
“It was a meeting to deliberate the party strategy for facing elections later in the year,” he said.
About his proposal before the party high command to declaring chief ministerial candidates well in advance before elections, he said that it was not specific to Himachal Pradesh but for all states where elections are to be held.
“To make a voting decision, the electorate is always eager to know as to who will head the government,” said Virbhadra.