Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has said that he was not afraid of the cheap and malicious personal attack launched by the BJP and their comrade-in-arms against him and his family members to smear his image and reputation. He had faced such baseless accusations and false cases before and had come out clean on all counts and this time also all wild allegations will fall flat.
In his press statement, Singh said that during the assembly elections, national BJP leaders including Arun Jaitley had personally targeted him and levelled wild and baseless accusations about his Income Tax returns and alleged favours to Ispat Industry. Jaitley had not only illegally procured details of his income tax returns, which cannot be obtained even under RTI without the consent of the assesse, but had also flashed them at a Press Conference in Shimla withholding parts of it to suit the political motive of the BJP, he added.
Virbhadra Singh said that he always believes in clean and healthy politics and good-governance. He never indulged in politics of vendetta and victimisation in spite of the fact that the BJP people fabricated numerous false cases against him and held baseless inquiries. He said that he came out clean in all these cases.
Dismissing the charges of vendetta by the BJP and other wrong doers, he said that the probes against the misrule and misdeeds of the previous BJP Government were being carried out by the investigating agencies as per law on the basis of the charge-sheet submitted by the Congress Party. This charge-sheet was prepared and submitted to the President of India by a committee constituted by the AICC, of which he was not even a member. The charge-sheet was later incorporated in the election manifesto of the Congress Party. He was not even a member of the Manifesto Committee constituted by the AICC and as such the allegations of vendetta being leveled against him were totally false and absurd. He said that that he had no personal bias against anybody.
On the formation of the Congress Government in the State, the Election Manifesto of the Congress Party was adopted as the Policy Document of the State Government and the chargesheet was handed over to the State Vigilance Bureau for fair and independent investigation since the Government was bound by responsibility to fulfill the promise made to the people of the State. The chargesheet contained serious charges of corruption and land scams against P.K. Dhumal, his family members, ministers, others and high profile cases of land deals and change of land use involving Ramdev’s Patanjali Yogpeeth, Prashant Bhushan’s Educational Trust, HPCA’s hotel, Bemloe construction, Annandale area etc.
Prashant Bhushan had purchased a Tea Garden at Kandbari in Palampur in the name of Kumud Bhushan Educational Society, which he could not have purchased as there was total ban on selling of Tea Gardens in the State to non-agriculturists. This matter of illegal purchase of Tea Garden by Prashant Bhushan was also vociferously raised by political parties during the movement of Anna Hazare, of which he was a part. Singh said that independent investigation was going on in the matter and apprehending legal action in this illegal land purchase case Prashant Bhushan as a counsel for Common Cause has filed a PIL in Hon’ble Delhi High Court against him levelling same old charges.
Virbhadra Singh said that during the assembly elections, a story was manipulated in the media alleging that Ispat Industry had made some payment to him. The story was based on an entry in the diary of an officer of the firm carrying reference of some “VBS”. The diary had hundreds of entries of other prominent people. The story was totally speculative and purely politically motivated. It is a matter of common knowledge and established fact that such entries in personal diaries do not constitute material evidence under the provisions of law. He stated that neither any favour was received from the said industry nor any favour granted to it during his tenure as the Union Steel Minister. This was confirmed even by his successor in the Steel Ministry Beni Prasad Verma, who categorically stated that no favour was made to the company on behalf of the Steel Ministry and that the papers containing the name of a beneficiary as “VBS” were a mere handiwork of company employees to siphon funds.
He said that the BJP was foreseeing defeat on all the four seats in the state in the coming parliamentary elections after the drubbing it received in the assembly elections and Mandi by-election. Virbhadra Singh said that his entire life devoted to the development of the State and welfare of its people was an open book for all. He said that the people of the State, whom he had served with all his might and commitment during his public career spanning over five decades, knew him fully well and have always reposed faith in his integrity and leadership. The love and affection of the people of the State was his biggest fortune and strength and he did not require any certificate from anybody else, least of all from the Bhushans or BJP.
He said that the massive developmental works launched by the Congress Government in the State and growing popularity of the Congress Party have unnerved the BJP. The Government’s policy of zero tolerance towards corruption has set a panic button amongst all the wrong doers, which included those in good number who had given and taken illegal benefits during the previous BJP Government and were now conniving and conspiring against him. It was an absolute foul play to involve him in false cases and malign his reputation, but these ulterior motives would not succeed as he had the power of truth and trust of people with him. He said that the Congress Government was committed for dignity of law.