CBI moves SC against Himachal Pradesh HC order on CM Virbhadra Singh

CBI moves SC against Himachal Pradesh HC order on CM Virbhadra Singh

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday moved the Supreme Court seeking urgent hearing on its plea challenging Himachal Pradesh High Court’s order granting protection against possible arrest and other relief to Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife in a disproportionate assets case.

A bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu agreed to hear CBI’s two petitions on reopening of the court after the Dussehra break.

The bench, also including Justice Arun Mishra, however refused to list the matter for hearing tomorrow, saying that it is not so urgent.

Additional Solicitor General PS Patwalia, appearing for the probe agency, said the high court order has virtually stalled the investigation process by granting relief such as protection from arrest and no interrogation of accused without its prior permission.

He said that the high court not only restrained CBI from arresting the Chief Minister but also embargoed it from filing charge sheet without its prior leave.

The probe agency has filed a transfer petition and a special leave petition in the apex court seeking transferring the case against Singh from Himachal Pradesh to Delhi and setting aside of the order passed by the state high court, respectively.

The Himachal Pradesh HC had on October 1 restrained CBI from arresting Singh and his wife in the DA case but had allowed the enquiry in the matter to proceed.

Admitting the petition of Singh against, the high court had also directed CBI to keep the court informed before interrogating the couple.

The Chief Minister had filed a petition in the high court pleading that the raids on his private residence and other premises were conducted with “malafide intentions and political vendetta” by the central investigating agency.

Singh in his petition had alleged that the CBI hadĀ overstepped its jurisdiction in filing the case and questioned how the agency could raid his premises when the case was already pending in the Delhi HC and also before the Income Tax tribunal and other Income tax authorities, where all documents relating to his returns have been submitted.

Virbhadra had sought directions from the high court to quash the FIR registered against him and his wife under Sections 13(2) and 13(1) (e) of Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 109 of IPC by CBI on September 23 here in Delhi.

The Delhi HC is also hearing a PIL filed by an NGO, Common Cause, alleging that Singh had received unaccounted money to the tune of nearly Rs 5 crore.

It also referred to his revised IT returns for the years 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 and claimed that it showed an increase in agricultural income to the tune of Rs 6.10 crore.

The IT department, in its status report filed yesterday in the Delhi High Court, had contended that it has the locus standi to probe the matter as the properties under question were also located in the national capital.

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