New Delhi/Shimla | Mounting its offensive against the Congress, BJP today accused Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh of accepting bribe from a private firm to buy a farm house in Mehrauli, a charge rejected by him.
BJP, which had yesterday released a sting video accusing Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat of corruption, followed it up today training its guns on Singh, saying it would continue with its instalments against the opposition party leaders.
The charges raked up by the BJP today were first levelled against Singh during the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections in 2012 and the party leaders today quoted from probe document to claim that the charges against him stand proved and demanded his resignation.
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad taunted Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son and deputy Rahul Gandhi over their allegations against some BJP leaders and sought their response on charges facing Singh and Rawat.
In Shimla, Singh said all the BJP allegations against him are politically motivated and false. I have been hearing these allegations for the last two years, All the matters are in court. First, a CBI inquiry was held against me and the agency has given clean chit and said no criminality has been found.
Now, again a second CBI inquiry is being instituted against me. I am prepared for it and ready for any inquiry. All the matters pertain mostly to Income Tax returns filed by me and my family by cheque. I paid every pie of it along with interest, he said.
Prasad alleged that Singh accepted bribe from a hydel power firm Venture Energy and Technology Pvt Ltd for reviving its cancelled project in the state and the money was routed by the firm through a convoluted process to a company owned by his son and daughter to buy a farm house for over Rs 6.61 cr.
Rahul Gandhi ji, Sonia Gandhi ji please explain… Is it quid pro quo or not? It is clear case of bribery… Will you ask Singh to resign? Prasad joined by party spokesperson M J Akbar and Himachal in-charge Shrikant Sharma said. His son Vikramaditya Singh and daughter Aparajita purchased the property in Mehrauli through their company Maple Destination and Dream Build Pvt Ltd for Rs 6.61 crore.
Refuting the charges, Singh later in a tweet said that the BJP was raising old and unsubstantiated charges against him and accused the Centre of political witch-hunting. The BJP is desperately trying to divert the attention of media and people from the questionable conduct of their leaders for which they have no answer, the veteran Congress leader said. A CBI inquiry is also on against Singh in the case.
The Himachal CM accused the BJP of making crude attempt to divert the attention of people from allegations against BJP chief ministers. I am innocent and all the charges are politically motivated and a crude attempt to malign my reputation and divert the attention from allegations of corruption against BJP chief ministers and ministers, he told reporters. I totally deny all the charges. I dont want to comment on the allegations as the matter is subjudice and cases are pending in Delhi and Himachal High Courts, Income Tax Tribunal and other forums and the allegations have also been probed by the CBI, he said, adding, All the charges have been investigated and I am not afraid of any probe.
Contesting this, Prasad quoting from an IT probe report said, investigation so far strongly suggests unaccounted cash and income of Virbhadra Singh has been brought back into regular books of accounts and for buying assets for his family members… and Vakkamulla Chandersekhar has acted as agent and conduit.
Chandersekhar is the promotor of the power firm. The IT department has sent the matter to the Enforcement Directorate to see if a case under Prevention of Money Laundering Act and FEMA violations are made out, he said.