The Supreme Court on Monday gave former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh four weeks to respond to the Central Bureau of Investigation’s petition regarding a limited part of the Delhi High Court’s verdict dismissing his plea for quashing of disproportionate assets case against him, Live Law reported.
Lawyer Kapil Sibal, who is representing Singh, told the bench headed by Justice RK Agrawal that more time was required to file a reply to the CBI plea. The court had issued the notice to Singh on January 4. The CBI’s plea deals with the part of the verdict in which the court questioned the procedure that the agency had followed with regard to taking the state’s consent before conducting its investigation, The Tribune reported.
In his petition before the Supreme Court against the High Court ruling, Singh had questioned how the Central Bureau of Investigation registered a case against him without the state’s consent, which is mandatory under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946. The agency, he argued, overstepped its jurisdiction as the alleged offences did not occur in the territory of Delhi.
However, the Central Bureau of Investigation argued that the law does not talk about the nature of consent from state governments, Live Law reported. The agency has sought the top court’s direction on the matter as the ruling might affect its power to investigate cases.
The agency had told the Delhi High Court that the Himachal Pradesh government had granted a general consent on August 24, 1990, to investigate the alleged offences of Central government employees that occur in the territory of the state. The high court had said in its March 31, 2017, order that the trial court would have to consider the matter when the chargesheet is filed. The court had then rejected the contention of Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh that the First Information Report filed against them was a result of “political vendetta”.
On February 1, the Enforcement Directorate filed a supplementary chargesheet in which it named them and four others as accused. The chargesheet was filed in Delhi’s Patiala House Court. Singh is accused of allegedly amassing assets worth Rs 10 crore, which were disproportionate to his income between 2009 and 2011, when he was a union minister. The CBI had also accused him of forgery.