NEW DELHI: Probing second UPA minister in two days, CBI on Thursday registered a preliminary enquiry against former Congress union minister Virbhadra Singh, his wife Pratibha Singh, his son Vikramaditya Singh, his daughter Aparajita Singh and a LIC agent Anand Chauhan to probe disproportionate assets acquired by the former steel minister and his family members.
CBI says Singh and his family members acquired illegal income/assets worth Rs 6.1 crore while he was steel minister from 2009 to 2011.
Officials say that Virbhadra Singh, while holding the charge of union steel minister, had invested his alleged illegal income through LIC agent Anand Chauhan by obtaining LIC policies in his name and name of his family members showing the it as from his agricultural income.
Earlier last year, CBI had virtually given a clean chit to former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh with its affidavit in the Delhi high court saying it has “not found any evidence for registering an RC (regular case)” in its probe into charges of corruption against Singh. However, the agency said the “income tax department can go ahead with issues related to it” and that it would register an FIR, if the court so ordered.
CBI was probing bribery charges against Singh since October 2013 and had even questioned him in early 2014, as reported by TOI.
The CBI had earlier told the high court that it can probe allegations of corruption and bribery against Singh during his tenure as Himachal CM in 2002 after the court issues necessary orders.
CBI had registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) last October 2013 on a complaint by State Trading Corporation (STC) asking it to probe payments made to STC officials by private companies. Later Prashant Bhushan wrote to the CBI Director and filed a petition in the Delhi High Court, alleging that several documents like income tax returns and affidavits filed during nomination pointed to the Congress leader’s “dubious transactions” and investments involving large sums of money when he was a Central minister.
It was alleged that Singh filed the IT returns for assessment year 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 showing agricultural income of Rs 735,000, Rs 1,500,000 and Rs 2,500,000 respectively, which is exempt under the Income Tax Act. “In 2012, in order to explain the unaccounted money, Singh filed revised IT returns for assessment year 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 showing revised agricultural income, showing an 18 to 30-fold increase of income in the three years. The total increase in agricultural income amounted to Rs 6.10 crore,” Bhushan said in his petition last year.