Himachal CM Virbhadra, his wife granted bail in DA case
A special court here today granted bail to Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh in connection with a nearly Rs 10 crore disproportionate assets case.
Special Judge Virender Kumar Goyal granted the relief to all the accused on a personal bond of Rs one lakh each and one surety of the like amount. The court, however, asked them not to leave the country without its prior permission.
Earlier in the day, the CBI had opposed the bail plea of the Chief Minister saying they may influence the witnesses and the ongoing probe in a disproportionate assets case against them.
The public prosecutor said Singh was the "King of the state" and if granted bail, no one will dare to come forward to depose before the court.
In their bail plea, Virbhadra Singh, who has not been arrested so far, and the other accused submitted that the investigation was complete as the CBI has already filed the charge sheet. But the CBI said the investigation in the case was still on and granting of bail might hamper it.
The 82-year-old politician had also cited several medical reports, saying he was suffering from serious ailments.
The accused persons also claimed that they will be able to look after their case in a better manner if they are out on bail.
Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh on May 22 appeared as accused in connection with a nearly Rs 10 crore disproportionate assets case and sought bail.
The CBI has charge sheeted Virbhadra Singh, his wife, Universal Apple Associate owner Chunni Lal Chauhan, stamp paper vendor Joginder Singh Ghalta, Managing Director of Tarani Infrastructure Vakamulla Chandrasekhar and co-accused Lawan Kumar Roach, Prem Raj and Ram Prakash Bhatia for the alleged offences including criminal conspiracy, forgery and corruption.
The charge sheet also names as accused LIC agent Anand Chauhan, who was arrested in the case and is currently in judicial custody.
The court had on May 8 summoned them after taking cognisance of the charge sheet filed by the CBI.
The CBI charge sheet, running into over 500 pages having the statements of around 225 witnesses and containing 442 documents, has claimed that Singh had amassed assets worth around Rs 10 crore which were disproportionate to his total income during his tenure as a Union minister.
Chauhan was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on July 9 last year in a separate money laundering case related to the DA case.
The matter was transferred by the Supreme Court to the Delhi High Court, which on April 6, 2016 had asked the CBI not to arrest Singh and directed him to join the probe.
On November 5 last year, the apex court had transferred Singh's plea from the Himachal Pradesh High Court to the Delhi High Court, saying it was not expressing any opinion on the merits of the case, but "simply" transferring the petition "in interest of justice and to save the institution (judiciary) from any embarrassment".