Facing a CBI preliminary inquiry in a disproportionate assets case, Himachal Pradesh chief minister faced embarrassment as an 18-member CBI team raided his private residence on the day of his daughter’s marriage (26 September).
Simultaneous raids were also carried out at his residences in Rampur and Saharan – both of which are his native places in Shimla. Four premises in Parwanoo in Himachal Pradesh and Shimla of Anand Chauhan, believed to be close to Singh, and his brother Chunni Lal Chauhan were also searched. Besides these, three other places in Delhi belonging to an alleged hawala dealer were also raided.
CBI accompanied by Enforcement Directorate officials confirmed raids at 11 places after a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) registered in June 2015 for allegedly amassing wealth of Rs 6.1 crore disproportionate to their known sources of income during the 2009-11 was converted into a FIR under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The CBI team swooped on his residence, Holly Lodge, after Virbhadra Singh and his family left for Sankat Mochan temple at 7.30 am to solemnise the marriage of his daughter.
Terming the action as “highly vindictive”, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said it is part of “Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s hate agenda and political vendetta against the Congress and its leaders (which) reached its zenith today with CBI raids at India’s senior most chief minister”.
“This inhumane, cruel and revengeful behaviour is characteristic of the Prime Minister,” said Azad, leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha.
Upping the ante, BJP demanded the immediate resignation of the chief minister. “The writing on the wall is clear. He misused his position as union steel minister during UPA regime and indulged in corruption which has now been exposed. He has no moral right to continue,” said union minister JP Nadda.
Meanwhile, the cabinet of Himachal Pradesh issued a joint statement accusing the NDA government of using pressure tactics to destabilise the state government.