Shimla/ June 25
A special court here today framed charges against Union Minister for Small, Micro and Medium Industries Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh in a 23-year-old graft case. Special Judge B L Soni, who had reserved framing charges on conclusion of arguments on June 6 last said that sufficient evidence existed for framing of charges against Singh and his wife in the “infamous” CD case in which they were allegedly having a conversation with IAS officer Mohinder Lal and some industrialists regarding monetary transactions.
The special court framed charges under section 120 B of IPC and section 7,11 and 13 of Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) against 78-year old Singh.
The former Himachal Pradesh chief minister and his wife were booked in the case on August 3, 2009, on the basis of an audio CD released by former Congress Minister Vijay Singh Mankotia in May 2007 and the prosecution filed the case in the court of special judge in October 2010.
The trial in the case would not start immediately as a case filed by Singh in the high court, seeking quashing of the FIR or transferring the investigations to the CBI is pending.
A division Bench of the High Court, comprising Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice V K Ahuja had on January 7 last declined to give any relief to the Singh and his wife on their plea to quash the case or refer it to CBI and stay the proceedings in the trial court and asked them to appear before the trial court.
Congress offers no comment
Congress today reacted cautiously to reports that charges were framed against Union Minister Virbhadra Singh in a graft case by a special court in Himachal Pradesh.
All senior leaders remained tightlipped over the issue and hesitated to offer any immediate comment.
Sources said, the matter will have to be looked into by the Prime Minister, too, as Singh is also a member of his Cabinet.
Virbhadra should resign or PM should sack him: BJP
In the wake of framing of charges against Union Minister Virbhadra Singh in a graft case, the BJP on Monday said he should tender his resignation and if he refuses to do so Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should sack him immediately.
“BJP demands that Virbhadra Singh should resign immediately. If he refuses to do so, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should sack him”, party spokesperson Jagat Prakash Nadda said.
Nadda, who was a minister in the BJP government in Himachal Pradesh till recently, said charges have been framed against half of the Union Ministers in the UPA government and the process is underway for several others.