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Virbhadra DA case: Malafide CBI probe might end Congress leader’s political career, Delhi HC told



Virbhadra CBI Inquiry

Sibal asked how CBI could register a PE without taking any consent of the state

SHIMLA- Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, an accused in a disproportionate assets case along with others, claimed in Delhi High Court on Thursday that process of probe conducted suggests an “element of enthusiasm” on CBI’s part, which is indicator of an element of “malafide”.

His counsel, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, questioned CBI’s jurisdiction in registering the case and told Justice Vipin Sanghi that the court should look into the “ramifications” of the matter as  CBI’s probe might damage political career of the Congress leader. As per CBI’s case, all assets alleged to be disproportionate to the known source of income were in Himachal Pradesh and the agency should not have lodged the case in Delhi, on the basis of the fact that his client was then a union minister here.

The manner in which probe was conducted (by CBI) shows an element of enthusiasm which would not have been there in normal circumstances. That is why a court-monitored mechanism is essential. There is an element of malafide in the matter,

Sibal told the court.

He also suggested biasedness of CBI based on the political party which is in power in the Centre or the state.

Sibal said CBI had conducted first preliminary enquiry (PE) and thereafter sought to close the case, but later it carried out a second PE on the same set of facts which were dealt with earlier. He argued that the check period in a DA case “cannot give CBI the jurisdiction to lodged a case here” as jurisdiction would be made out at the place where the offence is alleged to have been committed.

There must be a court crafted roadmap in such matters What will give you (CBI) jurisdiction is the place where an offence is committed,

Sibal said during the arguments which would continue on September 23.

CBI had earlier told the high court that its probe in the DA case against Singh and others was “complete” and it wanted to file the charge sheet in the matter. The Himachal Pradesh High Court in an interim order on October 1, 2015, had restrained the agency from arresting, interrogating or filing a charge sheet against Singh in the case without court’s permission.

During the hearing today, Sibal also asked how CBI could register a PE without taking any consent of the state.

This means the CBI will start conducting a PE without anybody’s consent. They should have reported the information received by them to the concerned authority in the state, he said.

Court has to look at the ramification of this probe. They (CBI) can keep on doing the investigation my (Virbhadra’s) political career may be finished,

Sibal said.

To this, the court observed

History has shown that no politician has been indicted due to prosecution.

Sibal responded saying,

I (Virbhadra) am not saying that I am immune. What prevents the state from investigating me? This is not a case of corruption.

The matter, in which Himachal Pradesh HC had passed the interim order, was transferred by the Supreme Court to the Delhi High Court, but the interim order has not yet been vacated or stayed. The Delhi High Court on April 6 this year had directed CBI not to arrest Singh while asking him to join the probe.

The direction had come when the court was disposing of CBI’s application seeking vacation of the Himachal Pradesh High Court order, which, the agency claimed, had “seriously held up” its investigation in the case.

On November 5 last year, the apex court had transferred Singh’s plea from Himachal Pradesh HC to Delhi HC, saying it was not expressing any opinion on the merits of the case, but “simply” transferring the petition “in interest of justice and to save the institution (judiciary) from any embarrassment”.

CBI had moved the apex court seeking transfer of the case to Delhi High Court and setting aside the interim order granting protection from arrest and other relief granted to Singh. A DA case was lodged against the Chief Minister and others by CBI under sections 13(2) and 13(1)(e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and section 109 (punishment for abetment) of IPC.

Image: WpJurist

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Misc News/Press Release

Himachal’s senior journalist Sunil Sharma passes away at 49



Himachal's senior journlist sunil sharma dies

Shimla: A senior journalist and the State Bureau Chief of the Hindi daily Divya Himachal, Sunil Sharma, today passed away suddenly. He was 49-year-old and was at his house in Jakhu, Shimla while he died.

The media community and political leaders including the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, Governor Acharya Devvrat, and Director, Information and Public Relations Anupam Kashyap have extended their condolences.

Media persons begin to pay visits to the bereaved family as soon as they received the news. The cause of sudden death has not disclosed yet officially.

The CM Jai Ram Thakur said Sunil Sharma was a committed journalist, and always maintained ethics of journalism. He said that his demise has created a void in the field of journalism.

The Chief Minister along with Education Minister Suresh Bhardwaj visited the residence of Sunil Sharma at Jakhu and expressed their sympathies with the bereaved family members.  

Governor Acharya Devvrat expressed his sympathies with the grief-stricken family members.

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Misc News/Press Release

Rohit Kumar Saval joins as CM Jairam’s media adviser



Rohit Kumar Saval

Shimla: Rohit Kumar Saval, who has an extensive experience in media, today joined as Media Advisor to Chief Minister, Jai Ram Thakur, at Shimla. Later he called on the Chief Minister and discussed issues related to media in the State.

Chief Minister said that Rohit Kumar Saval has been working for a long time with media and has a rich experience of working at State and National level. He said the role of media is very important in the dissemination of programs and policies of the state government.

His appointment as an advisor will strengthen media liaison as well as promote professionalism in the government system, he said.

Political Advisor to Chief Minister, Trilok Jamwal, OSD to Chief Minister, Mahender Kumar Dharmani, Additional Chief Secretary-cum- Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Manisha Nanda, Director, Information and Public Relations, Anupam Kashyap, were also present on the occasion.

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HP E-Vidhan wing gifts Galaxy Note 8, laptop, printer to all MLAs, ministers



HP E-vidhan wing gifts mlas

The government said that these gifts were given to the MLAs and ministers by the E-Vidhan wing of the HP Vidhan Sabha and will be used for official work.

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh Government on March 16, 2018, gifted electronic devices including a Samsung Galaxy Note 8, which currently costs between 68,000 to 70,000 INR, a laptop, and a printer to all the elected members of the 13th Assembly including the council of ministers.

The average cost per MLA is estimated to be above one lakh INR. The total cost touches almost 1 crore INR. The Information and Technology Minister, Ram Lal Markanda, personally visited the Speaker Rajiv Bindal to deliver the gifts.

The news has attracted criticism from several groups, especially on social media and regional online news portals. The Bhartiya Janata Party has been opening scathing attacks on the previous Congress government over a debt of 46,000 crores INR.

Also, the state government did not take timely cognizance of the media reports about a 16-year-old poverty-stricken girl of Solan district who required lakhs of rupees to undergo a kidney transplant after she lost both of her own kidneys.

In the list of priorities, the gifts did come above the announcement of relief money to the girl.

Therefore, the reason for the criticism was quite apparent.  

It is being speculated that some of the MLAs have even sold or handed their copies of devices to subordinate staff or family members as they already had high-end smartphones.

However, the government said that these gifts were given to the MLAs and ministers by the E-Vidhan wing of the HP Vidhan Sabha and will be used for official work  during the current government tenure.

The Speaker said, the MLAs and Ministers will be given training regarding the operation of these electronic devices.

The effect of this step will be visible directly or indirectly in coming days. The government’s explanation that these electronics were gifted as part of the E-Vidhan program will be visible if all the recipient make themselves available to the public online.

Currently, the State government’s official websites are either not user-friendly or are in tatters and hardly contains latest data or information.  As we had mentioned earlier, the official website of the State government has still not updated the name of the Chief Minister.

The average response rate to e-mails is critically low for the government departments and the offices of the ministers.

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