Virbhadra for speedy trial; prosecution for cancelling bail in CD case

Shimla: Dragged to court to stand trial in a case registered under Prevention of Corruption Act, former union minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh presented themselves before special judge BL Soni here today, and on not accepting the charges that were read out in open court, they sought a speedy trial.

Prosecution, on the other hand, held on that there was enough evidence against the accused and sought cancellation of their bail on the ground that out on bail they were influencing witnesses.

Special public prosecutor Jiwan Lal Sharma demanded early hearing of the April 6, 2011 application seeking cancellation of bail before trail in the case could begin. Special Judge BJ Soni after hearing the matter listed the case for September 12.

Virbhadra Singh coming out from the trial court

In a jam packed court the proceedings lasted barely 10 minutes.

The trail before the special judge resumed after Virbhadra Singh withdrew three petitions from the High Court that had sought cancellation of the FIR in the case and one had also pleaded that the matter be investigated by an independent agency.

Earlier on June 25, the trail court before framing charges under section 120 B of IPC and Section 7, 11, 13 [1] [D] Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act 1988 against Virbhadra Singh and Section 120 B and Section 9 of PC Act, 1988 against Pratibha Singh, the judge had observed, “the materials on record show existence of criminal conspiracy amongst Virbhadra Singh, Pratibha Singh and deceased bureaucrat Mohinder Lal.

After charges were framed, Virbhadra, who was not present in court that day, had resigned as a cabinet minister form Manmohan Singh government.

The main charges in the case allege that the duo had accepted illegal gratifications for establishment of a cement plant and granted more time to a liquor company for adding an effluent treatment plant to its distillery in Solan during the 1989-90 period.

However, the trail court had held a contentious CD, which the prosecution had claimed as evidence about Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha allegedly heard talking to former bureaucrat Mohinder Lal over phone about illegal money transactions, as inadmissible evidence.

The over two decade old recorded conversation was considered vital evidence through which the prosecution intended to establish a criminal conspiracy.

On basis of the CD, first made public by Vijay Singh Mankotia in June 2007, prosecution had registered a corruption case against the five time former chief minister and his wife in 2009 and a charge sheet was filed in October, 2010.

Photo: Amit

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post. Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.

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