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Virbhadra Singh CBI Raid case: Everything you need to know

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Why did the CBI raid Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s private residence, Holly Lodge in Shimla, and 12 other places on September 26?

SHIMLA- The CBI is investigating allegations that Virbhadra Singh, as union Minister for Steel and, subsequently, Minister for MSME in the UPA 2 government between 2009 and 2012, acquired an illegal income and assets worth Rs 6.1 crore. He allegedly invested the unexplained income in single-premium LIC polices through one Anand Chauhan, who opened an account in Punjab National Bank’s Shimla branch and deposited nearly Rs 5 crore in cash, before routing the money into the LIC policies. Chauhan was also the manager of Singh’s Shrikhand apple orchard in Shimla district during the same period. The CBI registered a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) against Singh, his wife Pratibha Singh, their son Vikramaditya Singh, daughter Aparajita Kumari, and LIC agent Chauhan in June 2015. On September 23, the CBI converted the PE into a regular case under the Prevention of Corruption Act, and the raids followed.

What other allegations does the Chief Minister face?

In 2012, Virbhadra Singh filed revised Income-Tax Returns for the years 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12, which showed massive increases in his incomes from the apple orchard. The income of Rs 7.35 lakh for 2009-10 rose to Rs 2.21 crore; for 2010-11, Rs 15 lakh increased to Rs 2.80 crore; and for 2011-12, the income of Rs 25 lakh increased to Rs 1.55 crore. Following complaints, the Income-Tax Department sent a notice to the CM, asking him to explain the increases. Singh currently faces I-T investigations and a case in the Income-Tax Tribunal, a money-laundering investigation by the Enforcement Directorate, and a case in the Himachal Pradesh High Court.

How, when did the allegations surface?

During the Assembly elections of 2012, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who was then Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, confronted Singh with the alleged facts of the cases. He released details of Singh’s revised I-T returns, which showed the huge increases in his orchard incomes, and of the temporary PNB account opened by Anand Chauhan to make investments on behalf of Singh and his family. Jaitley also accused Singh of forgery and money laundering, and subsequently wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, seeking a probe. Singh filed a defamation suit against Jaitley, but withdrew it later.

In 2013, advocate and activist Prashant Bhushan filed a public interest lawsuit in Delhi High Court on behalf of the NGO Common Cause, alleging that the CBI had not probed the charges of corruption against Singh. This PIL is pending in the court. The next hearing is on October 14, when CBI is supposed to inform the court whether a case for lodging an FIR is made out.

Did the CM anticipate the CBI’s action?

At a meeting of the state cabinet two days before the raids, Transport Minister G S Bali alerted Singh about CBI investigators closing in on him. The Chief Minister asked all 11 ministers to sign a statement backing him. In their joint statement, the ministers accused the Centre of bringing false charges against Singh, and of misusing the CBI. Investigators showed up on the day Minakshi Kumari, the youngest of the Chief Minister’s four daughters from his first wife, was getting married. It was a quiet family affair at a local temple, about which many from even the Chief Minister’s party were unaware. The CM and his family were at home when the CBI arrived. On Monday, Virbhadra Singh’s lawyers sought a copy of the CBI FIR, but withdrew the application on Wednesday. Later on Wednesday, however, the CM moved the Himachal Pradesh High Court against the CBI.

How have the Chief Minister and his party reacted to the CBI raids?

Virbhadra Singh has not issued any detailed public statement so far. On September 27, he put out two tweets, saying, “I was on the way to Temple for my daughters marriage ceremony when I encountered with the CBI Team outside my house at Shimla”, and “I proceeded to the wedding ceremony, opened my house doors to the CBI & asked them to check what they want, as I have nothing to hide”. The Congress Legislature Party — 36 MLAs in a House of 68 — has thrown its weight behind him; his rival in the party, Anand Sharma, too has backed the CM. On Thursday, Congress MLAs led by veteran leader Vidya Stokes are scheduled to meet President Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi to submit a three-page memorandum apprising him of the CBI raids. The Congress memorandum is likely to accuse the Centre of unfairly targeting Virbhadra Singh while ignoring the allegations of corruption and impropriety against BJP Chief Ministers Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Vasundhara Raje and Raman Singh.

How will the CBI raids impact the CM politically?

There is currently no challenge to his leadership. Singh has been a mass leader — one who has fought his way to the Chief Minister’s job in the face of opposition from the Congress leadership in 1993, 2003 and 2012. In 2012, it was the Congress’s compulsion to give him charge, even though he had had to resign from the union ministry only a few months earlier. The charges against him this time are, however, serious. What the CBI tells Delhi High Court in its status report will be crucial.

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s statue on Shimla Ridge or Mall, memorial in Manali, renaming Kold Dam and 2 schemes on HP Govt’s list

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Statue of Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Shimla Ridge or Mall

Shimla: After Mahatma Gandhi, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the first Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Yashwant Singh Parmar, and freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai, now the ruling government of Bhartiya Janata Party has decided to erect a statue of the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on either the historic Shimla Ridge Maidan or the Mall.

Three of the aforementioned statues are of the prominent leaders of the Indian National Congress. This would be the first statute of a leader of Bhartiya Janata Party to be installed beside the INC leaders.

The Cabinet also decided to construct a memorial at Manali in memory of late Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The government would also send a proposal to the Union Government to rename Kol Dam project after his name.

The Cabinet has also passed a resolution to request Union Government to name Rohtang Tunnel in the name of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The government will also re-name the Mukhya Mantri Adarsh Vidya Kendra Scheme launched by the State Government as Atal Adarsh Vidya Kendra and Mukhya Mantri Aashirwad Scheme as Atal Aashirwad Scheme.

Such decisions have their own psycho-social impacts on the common populace in the long-term and the INC has used them quite effectively.

The Cabinet has cited following reasons behind passing condolence resolution:

  • The government said these decisions are the parts of a condolence resolution on the demise of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
  • He had special benevolence for Himachal Pradesh and its people and had sanctioned various mega projects for the State which people of the State have not dreamt of. He considered Himachal as his second home and has home and has a house at Prini in Kullu district, the Cabinet said.
  • He gave the idea to construct Rohtang tunnel connecting Lahaul valley with rest of the world in 1998 and the project was announced on June 3, 2000.
  • He gave a special package for industrial development for Himachal Pradesh in 2003.
  • He gave the nod to Pokhran Nuclear test making India a nuclear power.
  • One of the largest education programs ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ was launched during his Prime Ministership.
  • He gave the nation the Golden Quadrilateral National Highway Project – the lifeline of trade in India.
  • He started ‘Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojna’ (PMGSY) aimed at linking five lakh villages of India to cities including those in Himachal.
  • His policies paved way for a very robust economic growth, with special emphasis on SEZs, giving telecom spectrum to private players for quality service to customers etc.
  • He had laid the foundation stones of Kol Dam and Parvati Hydro Electric Projects in the State besides Mohan Shakti National Heritage Park at Harth near Solan.

 

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HP Govt mulls over regular medical checkups in schools for early diagnosis of drug addiction

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medical checkup in hp govt schools

Shimla: Considering the rapidly increasing evil nuisance drug/substance abuse in the youths of Himachal Pradesh, the state government is mulling over introducing a mechanism for regular medical checkups of the school students for early diagnose of signs and symptoms of drug addiction.

It was informed at the Regional Conference of Chief Ministers of Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, and Administrator of Chandigarh Union Territory held today.

As the States shared their borders with each other, they agreed that it is essential to constitute a joint task force to check cross-border drug peddling.

Other proposals included the formation of a long-term strategy to engage youth in constructive activities and to encourage parents to keep an eye on the behaviour of their teenage children. Abnormal behaviour often results from the circumstances created by addiction.

The entry of synthetic drugs is tightening its grip on the youth including the teenagers at schools.

A large number of crimes could be attributed to substance addictions. Addicts are trying to obtain money to purchase substances/drugs, but when a purchase goes wrong, they need more money, it gives rise to violence and crime. Eradication of drug mafia would also affect the rate of crimes.

The Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, through video conferencing, said that about 1000 arrests had been made in the State against drug peddlers. However, no time period was mentioned.

Further, it was decided that a Common Secretariat would be established in Panchkula in Haryana to check this social vice and all the neighbouring States would appoint a Nodal Officers for effective coordination, it was informed. Uttar Pradesh would also be requested to be part of this campaign and the Chief Ministers of these northern State would meet after every six months in a year and the Secretary-level meeting would be at least four times in a year.

Chief Secretary Vineet Chawdhry, Additional Chief Secretary Dr Shrikant Baldi, Director General of Police S.R. Mardi and ADGP Anurag were present at Shimla and Additional Chief Secretary, Home B.K. Aggarwal and Additional Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Sanjay Kundu were present at Chandigarh on the occasion.

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Govt declares 7-days State Mourning, 2-days public holiday in Himachal

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Atal-Bihari-Vajpayee passes away

Shimla:The Himachal Pradesh Cabinet Ministers, the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, the Governor Acharya Devvrat, and several leaders of the Bhartiya Janata Party and oppositions mourned the sad demise of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee (93).

He passed away today in All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi after a long illness.

The State Government has declared seven days State Mourning. The national flag would remain to fly at half mast.

The State Government has also declared public holidays for 17th and 18th August 2018.

He was born in Gwalior on December 25, 1924, and joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in 1939. was one of the founding members of the BJP.

He Vajpayee was thrice elected the prime minister between 1996 and 1999 and was the only non-Congress prime minister to complete the full term of five years, from 1999 to 2004.

He was also conferred prestigious Bharat Ratan award too.

Nation has today lost a great leader and a noble soul. This loss cannot be compensated. Himachal Pradesh had been a special place for Atal Ji and he always considered it as his own home as he used to come and stay at Prini in Kullu District frequently

, in their condolence message, the Ministers said.

He was a statesman and a visionary leader, whose demise is a great loss to the nation. He said that Shri Vajpayee always considered Himachal Pradesh as his second home and has a house at Prini in Kullu district, 

Chief Minister Jai Ram said in his condolence message.

The Chief Minister also shared an old picture taken with Shri Vajpayee.

Chief Minister said that the idea to construct Rohtang tunnel connecting landlocked hinterland Lahaul valley with rest of the world was conceived in 1998 by Shri Vajpayee and the project was announced by him on June 3, 2000. He said that this project was nearing completion and would be the biggest gift of Shri Vajpayee to the State.

He said that it was National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee that Himachal Pradesh got a special package for industrial development in 2003. He said that this resulted in an industrial investment of thousands of crores of Rupees and employment opportunities to lakhs of the youth of the State.

Jai Ram Thakur said one of the largest educational programs in the world, ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ was launched during his Prime Ministership. The program was a product of strong willpower of this statesman, he added.

Chief Minister said that it was during the tenure of Shri Vajpayee that the Golden Quadrilateral, the lifeline of trade in India came into being. In addition, ‘Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojna’ (PMGSY) aimed at linking the 5 lakh villages of India to cities by all-weather roads, which in particular proved a boon to the hilly states like Himachal Pradesh, he added.

Shri Vajpayee was the great son of India in a real sense, who, with his simplicity and humility, ruled the hearts of millions of people. He always believed in value-based politics and always adhered to it. He said that Shri Vajpayee would always be remembered and respected by the people of the country for his simplicity, humanity and benevolence,

the Governor said in his message of condolence.

Further, leaders of the opposition are also paying their respects and praying to the Almighty to grant peace to the departed soul.

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