Shimla: Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India’s premier investigating agency and officers of Enforcement Directorate (ED), early morning knocked on Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s residence Holly Lodge, his residence at Delhi and other properties after having registered a case in disproportionate asset case last night.
Five vehicles bearing numbers of Punjab and Chandigarh entered the chief minister private premises at Jakhu at a time when Virbhadra Singh and his family were out for a family function at Sankat Mochan temple in the city.
“Searches were conducted at 11 locations in Himachal Pradesh and Delhi,” a CBI officer in New Delhi said.
Having sensed the coming action by central agencies, the state cabinet which included dissident minister Kaul Singh Thakur, just two day ago, in a signed statement had reposed trust in the leadership of Virbhadra Singh and revealed that the central government was moving to destabilize the state government.
The raid follows after an application for registration of a disproportionate assets case when Virbhadra Singh was the union steel minister in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s cabinet was placed before Delhi High Court by Common Cause, an NGO of which noted lawyer Prashant Bhusan is a member.
Following the court’s directive, a preliminary inquiry was instituted by CBI and other agencies. Simultaneously, the income tax returns of chief minister for the years 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 that were revised upwards and from a few lakhs amounted to some crores, shown as agricultural income from sale of apple crops, came to be questioned.
Prior to registration of the case, Catch News, a news portal backed by Rajasthan Patrika, had released a story – “Is Virbhadra Singh favouring Gautam Adani to get CBI off his back?” that even had pictures showing Subhash Aluwalia, private secretary to CM in company of Gautam Adani.
Subhash Aluwalia, separately is also facing an Enforcement Directorate inquiry, an issue that had rocked the Himachal Vidhan Sabha in the monsoon session after the state had made an attempt to repatriate an ED officer from a deputation he was with the central agencies.