SC notice to Virbhadra Singh in disproportionate assets case

New Delhi, Oct 26 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh asking why his plea against CBI investigation into a case involving Rs.6 crore could not be transferred from the state high court to another outside the state.

The apex court bench of Justice F.M.I. Kalifulla and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit issued notice on the CBI plea challenging the Himachal Pradesh High Court order restraining it from investigating the chief minister and his wife or arresting them.

A notice, returnable on November 5, has also been issued to Singh’s wife Pratibha Singh.

The high court in its October 1, 2015, order asked the CBI not to arrest the chief minister and his wife in the disproportionate assets case.

However, it directed the central agency to go ahead with the investigation.

“…by way of abundant precaution, it’s made clear that the petitioners shall not be arrested,” a division bench of Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Sureshwar Singh Thakur said.

“It’s also made clear that as and when the dossier is complete, it shall be open for the CBI to approach this court for permission to interrogate the petitioners in accordance with law,” the high court had said.

The case was registered on September 23 under the Prevention of Corruption Act against the chief minister, his wife Pratibha Singh, LIC agent Anand Chauhan and an associate, Chunni Lal.

The FIR was the outcome of a preliminary inquiry which revealed that Singh, while serving as a union minister during 2009-2012, had allegedly accumulated assets worth Rs.6.03 crore in his name and in the name of his family members which were found to be disproportionate to his known sources of income.

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