The Supreme Court, on Thursday, transferred the disproportionate assets case against Himachal Pradesh’s CM Virbhadra Singh, from the Himachal Pradesh High Court, to the Delhi High Court.
The top court also ordered to delete allegations and counter-allegations made by either parties against the High Court judge and the counsel representing the CBI, in the case.
A bench comprised of Justices F.M.I. Kalifulla and U.U. Lalit, said, it was not expressing any opinion on the merits of the case but “simply” transferring the petition to the Delhi High Court “in the interest of justice and to save the judiciary from any embarrassment.”
Central Bureau of Investigation, seeking the transfer of case, had alleged that the judge, who earlier stopped them from arresting the Chief Minister, had been his lawyer.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who was appearing for the Chief Minister, opposed the transfer saying that it would send a wrong message that the State HC is not fit enough to hear this case.
Rejecting the submissions, the Bench said, it would not deal with any aspect of the matter and simply refer it to the Delhi HC by invoking its extraordinary constitutional authority in the interests of justice.
The apex court had, earlier, sought responses from the CM, and others, on two petitions filed by the CBI, against the High Court order, granting protection from arrest, and other relief to him, and his wife, in the said case.
On Wednesday, the Delhi court had said, it would hear arguments on December 3, on the maintainability of plea for a court-monitored probe, into charges against the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh.
A division bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva said, senior advocate Hariharan, who was appointed amicus curiae in the case, will start arguments in maintainability of the plea.
“On the submissions led by advocate Kapil Sibal (appearing for Singh) we are reopening the issue of maintainability. Advocate Hariharan shall argue on the issue of maintainability on December 3,” the court said.