SC says wait as CBI wants to arrest Himachal CM and wife

The agency moves to apex court as high court ‘has virtually stalled the investigation process’

GN Bureau | October 15, 2015


#Central Bureau of Investigation   #Himachal Pradesh   #justice HL Dattu   #Himachal CM   #chief minister Virbhadra Singh   #Virbhadra Singh  

The Central Bureau of Investigation today sought urgent hearing by the supreme court on its plea challenging Himachal Pradesh high court's order granting protection against possible arrest and other relief to chief minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife. The probe agency has filed a transfer petition and a special leave petition in the apex court seeking transferring the case against Singh from Himachal Pradesh to Delhi and setting aside of the order passed by the state high court, respectively.

An apex court bench headed by chief justice HL Dattu said it would hear the plea on the opening day after the Dusshera holidays on October 26.  The bench that includes justice Arun Mishra, however, refused to list the matter for hearing on Friday, saying that it is not so urgent. On Wednesday, the CBI and the Income Tax department filed a status report in the Delhi High Court on the allegations against Singh in the assets case in a sealed cover.

Additional Solicitor General P S Patwalia, appearing for the probe agency, said the high court order has virtually stalled the investigation process by granting relief such as protection from arrest and no interrogation of accused without its prior permission.

The high court not only restrained CBI from arresting the chief minister but also embargoed it from filing charge sheet without its permission, said the ASG.  The HC had on October 1 restrained CBI from arresting Singh and his wife in the DA case but had allowed the enquiry in the matter to proceed. The high court had also directed CBI to keep the court informed before interrogating the couple.

The chief minister had filed a petition in the high court pleading that the raids on his private residence and other premises were conducted with "malafide intentions and political vendetta" by the central investigating agency.

Singh in his petition had alleged that the CBI had overstepped its jurisdiction in filing the case and questioned how the agency could raid his premises when the case was already pending in the Delhi HC and also before the Income Tax tribunal and other Income tax authorities, where all documents relating to his returns have been submitted.

Virbhadra had sought directions from the high court to quash the FIR registered against him and his wife under Sections 13(2) and 13(1) (e) of Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 109 of IPC by CBI on September 23 here in Delhi. The Delhi HC is also hearing a PIL filed by an NGO, Common Cause, alleging that Singh had received unaccounted money to the tune of nearly Rs 5 crore.

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