Virbhadra Singh comes under fresh attack from BJP

Virbhadra Singh comes under fresh attack from BJP

Virbhadra Singh, prime Congress contender in the chief ministerial race in Himachal Pradesh, today came under fresh attack from BJP on charges of forgery, money-laundering, bribe taking and income tax evasion.

Addressing a press conference, BJP leader Arun Jaitley alleged that Singh had altered his income tax account books from 2008 onwards to show a forged, back-dated contract and a highly inflated income of around Rs 6.5 Crore.

Singh had recently come under the scanner following allegations that he had received payments from a steel company which had come to light after raids were conducted on the firm in 2010.

BJP's attack today relates to a contract reportedly signed by Singh with one Vishambar Das giving his orchard for an annual payment of Rs 10.5 Lakh.

The party said when the diaries of the steel company seized during the raid came out in the open, Singh entered into a back-dated contract with one Anand Chauhan to replace the earlier contract. The amount in the contract with Chauhan adds upto around Rs 6.5 Crore over three years.

"This is a case of bribery, conversion of bribe money through money-laundering into real income, forgery by back-dating an agreement," Jaitley said, maintaining that this was not just a case of tax evasion.

Attacking Sonia Gandhi who criticised BJP on the issue of corruption, Jaitley said, "Had she known this, she would not have shared the stage with Singh. And if she knew and yet shared the stage, she should not have given a sermon on corruption."

Jaitley demanded that the matter should be probed by a Special Investigation Team comprising three honest police officers.

"This matter cannot be investigated by CBI due to its bad track record. Secondly, in the diaries, CBI is shown as a beneficiary," the BJP leader claimed.

Jaitley alleged that the steel industry diary case, allegedly involving Singh, is not just one of revenue loss but a corruption issue. Moreover, there is a money-trail here which shows how an attempt was made to turn the bribe money into white money.

BJP maintains that when the diaries were seized in 2010, Singh forged his tax payers and contracts.

"Unaccounted money comes from somewhere and finds its way to Anand Chauhan and Vir Bhadra Singh becomes the final beneficiary," Jaitley alleged.

Chauhan, reportedly an LIC agent, had kept deposits worth several lakhs in Punjab National Bank and bought four policies for Vir Bhadra Singh, his wife and two children, according to the BJP.

BJP charged that Singh himself has signed all the documents, LIC policies and contracts, including the backdated contract.

"Facts are as clear as daylight... Congress should introspect over its statement on corruption. She (Gandhi) is also being judged by the company she keeps," Jaitley said.

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