Shimla: Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) telling a Delhi Court yesterday that prima facie a money laundering case was made out against chief minister Virbhadra Singh, the issue rocked the Himachal assembly today, forcing speaker BBL Butail to adjourn the house without conducting any business for the day.
As the house assembled in the morning; before the speaker called for the first question to be taken up with the commencement of question hour, BJP members Mohinder Singh and Rajeev Bindal were on their feet wanting to know about the fate of their adjournment motion
The duo had served notice under rule 67 for suspension of all listed business to imminently discuss money laundering allegations leveled against the chief minister.
Pressing for the immediate discussion, Mohinder Singh said that the chief minister had lost the moral right to continue in office till he was cleared of money laundering allegations.
“As union minister when corruption charges were leveled against him, he had resigned. Why is he quiet now” said Mohinder.
The speaker acknowledged having received the notice but rejected it on the grounds that the matter was sub-judice.
“You cannot raise this question as it is already in court. No case which is already pending in the court of law anywhere in India can be discussed here,” speaker Butail ruled.
Unable to get the chair to allow a discussion, BJP members started raising slogans.
Amidst the bedlam, the chief minister read out a statement – “The BJP are trying to spread misinformation about the case. ….. The matter is already under consideration of the Hon’ble High Court and is sub-judice. It would not be proper for me or anybody else to make any comments about the proceedings of the Hon’ble Court. The BJP is trying to draw unnecessary inferences.”
Expressing faith in the judiciary, he added, “I am fully confident that I will come out of the case clean as I had done in numerous other cases fabricated against me earlier.”
With the speaker failing to bring order to the house, he adjourned the house for the day, just 10 minutes after it had assembled.
Speaking to reporters after the adjournment, Virbhadra said that an attempt was being made to frame him in fabricated cases. “I will contest the case in court,” he said.
In response to questions put to him about Prashant Bhushan, who on behalf of NGO Common Cause has moved the Delhi Court in the matter, Virbhadra said that he did not know Bhushan personally.
He added that Bhushan was permitted by the previous BJP government to buy tea estate lands in Palampur and the same BJP later initiated an inquiry against him for purchasing land in violation of rules. Why was action not taken against him”?
Bhushan had brought to the Delhi Court’s notice the instance of Virbhadra Singh’s revised income tax returns having recorded a phenomenal increase in agricultural income for a three consecutive years.
In response to a court’s order about filing a status report about a preliminary inquiry, CBI – the investigating agency, yesterdsay had let the court know that prima facie a money laundering case could be made out in the case.
Before posting the case for 20 August, the court ordered the income tax department to file a status report on the case.