The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to intervene in a lower court’s order to frame charges against former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh in a disproportionate assets case. Singh is accused of illegally acquiring assets worth over Rs 10 crore.
The former chief minister and his wife Pratibha Singh had moved the court challenging a trial court order to frame charges against them. The court asked the Central Bureau of Investigation to reply to the petition submitted by Singh and scheduled the next hearing for April 16.
On December 10, the trial court had ordered the framing of charges against Singh, his wife and seven others in the case filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation. The 82-year-old Congress leader has claimed that the Himachal Pradesh government’s approval was needed to initiate an investigation into his alleged possession of disproportionate assets under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The trial court had said that Singh intended to cause a loss to the exchequer by misrepresenting unaccounted money as proceeds of apple sales, and amassing assets of over Rs 10 crore disproportionate to his income between 2009 and 2011 when he was a Union minister. The court had charged Pratibha Singh and seven others with abetting the offences.
On January 24, Justice Mukta Gupta had recused herself from the case.