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Already on bail, CM Virbhadra gets another setback from High Court in IT-returns case



Virbhadra Singh IT Returns case

The entire ‘bumper crop” episode was just a fabrication. As per allegations, it implies that there were no additional apples produce in fact. If there were no apples, then nothing was transported to the market and nothing was sold.

Shimla: The HP Assembly polls are around the corner but the Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who has already been on target of multiple investigation agencies, opposition, and even a group of own party-men over the alleged corrupted charges, did not appear to find any respite from any side. 

The only relief had come in May 2017, when the Central Bureau of Investigation court had granted Virbhadra and his wife Pratibha Singh in nearly Rs 10 crore disproportionate assets case. 

Now, as an another jolt, the state High Court on October 5, 2017, rejected Chief Minister’s plea challenging the orders passed by the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT).

On March 18, 2014, the Income Tax Commissioner had rejected the fresh assessment of income tax returns of the Chief Minister pertaining to the 2009-2010 financial year.

Previous to 2009, the CM’s returns were between Rs 10 lakhs-Rs 20 lakhs. But in 2012, Singh filed revised income tax returns of Rs 6.5 crore from agricultural income over a period of three years ( Rs 2.21 crore in 2009-’10, Rs 2.8 crore in 2010-’11, and Rs 1.55 crore in 2011-’12.)

The assessing authority had accepted the revised returns, but the IT Department did not.

The CM had claimed the rise in income was a result of a bumper harvest of the apple crop.

The allegations said the documents showed that apples were shipped on scooters, oil tankers and motorcycles to a non-functional market. These apples were then sold to unknown firms with non-existent addresses.

In nutshell, the investigating agencies allege that the entire ‘bumper crop” episode was just a fabrication. As per allegations, it implies that there were no additional apples produce in fact. If there were no apples, then nothing was transported to the market and nothing was sold.

The allegations are that the Chief Minister tried to convert his black money into white by showing it as agricultural income.

The CM challenged the orders in IT Commissioner. On December 8, 2016, the Tribunal too upheld the Commissioner’s order.

The CM moved the High Court with a plea to quash the ITAT orders. However, now the court has also upheld the ITAT orders.

On rejection of the revised income tax returns filed by him, Virbhadra had termed it a “politically motivated” move. Virbhadra Singh had been maintaining that these cases are falsely framed to damage his political reputation.

Virbhadra had even alleged that the Income-tax Tribunal was set up by the Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley and two special judges were sent from Delhi to hear his case.

Recently, the CM had remarked that Prime Minister Narender Modi loves him so much that he has engaged three investigation agencies to probe one case against him. 

He had maintained that he would file an appeal in the High Court and also in the Supreme Court if the need arose.

Other than the IT-Department, the Central Bureau of Investigation had also filed a FIR against the CM based on these allegations.

Th Enforcement Directorate (ED) under union finance ministry followed the development and registered a case of money laundering against him, his wife and others in 2015. The ED alleged that Virbhadra Singh used “bogus entries” for transfer of the ill-gotten money.

In September 2017, a special court had confirmed the attachment of this farmhouse worth 27. 29 crore located in Dera Mandi near Mehrauli of south Delhi area under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The political campaigns of the opposition have been mostly feeding on the corruption charges against the CM. The fresh development in the case is likely to boost the trend.

Photo Courtesy: File Photo/Virbhadra Sing/FB

Misc News/Press Release

DC Kangra confirms abduction of 3 Himachalis in Nigeria, CM seeks Centre Govt’s help



Himachali held hostages in nigeria

Shimla: The Deputy Commissioner of Kangra today confirmed that Nigerian sea pirates have held three men hailing from Kangra hostages for ransom.

The state government said it has taken up the matter with the Government of India and requested the safe release of all three hostages.

The step came after the news appeared in regional media.

The State government claimed that in a communiqué to the Western Africa Division, Ministry of External Affairs, the state government said the three youths namely Sushil Kumar, Pankaj Kumar and Ajay Kumar, who belong to Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh have been kidnapped by the Nigerian pirates as per the confirmed report.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has sought the intervention of Union government to ensure the safe release of three hostages.He hoped the union government will act fast and get the hostages released safely.

You can read the entire matter here in HW’s previous article.

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Govt silent over safety of 3 Himachali youth allegedly held hostages by Nigerian pirates for ransom



Himachali held hostages in nigeria

Shimla: Three youths hailing from Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra district, who were serving in Merchant Navy, have reportedly ended in the hands of armed Nigerian sea pirates as hostages. The armed pirates hijacked their ship and demanded a ransom of 11 million nairas (20-22 Lakh INR) from the parents of one of the hostages.

The details are scanty as no official confirmation has been made by the State or Centre Government. It is not clear when they were abducted. 

The news broke out when Raghubir Singh (62) of Nagrota, father of one of the hostages, reached media yesterday.  

As per the information given by Raghubir, the other two men included Pankaj Kumar of Samloti and Ajay Kumar of Palampur.

The three men were currently working for a private shipping company named Max Marine Services in Cortnou Benin.

On March 12, the parents of one of the abducted youth, Susheel Sharma (37), who was the captain on the ship, received a call through a satellite phone. Susheel told the parents that he along with two others had been held hostage in some jungle. He told the parents about the pirate’s demand for ransom in exchange for their release.

On March 21, Himachal had received a shock after the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj confirmed, while speaking in the Parliament, the killing of 39 Indians in Iraq including four men from Himachal. Three of them hailed from Kangra while remaining one belonged to Mandi district.

Now, this fresh case of abduction has again jolted Kangra.

Surprisingly, as alleged by the parents, the Centre or State Government have not given any reaction to the situation.   

The district administration also said it was not aware of the situation.

The parents also alleged the shipping company of keeping them in dark whenever they contacted it to know whereabouts of their son. The owner of the ship told the parents that a negotiation was ongoing with the pirates.

However, recently, the owner stopped picking up phone calls from the aggrieved parents.  

Ultimately, the family on March 18 approached the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and the Prime Minister, Modi,  through a mail with their plea to intervene and rescue their son.

However, the parents allege that they did not receive any satisfactory response from anyone. 

As per the statement of the parents, Sudhir had told them that they are getting only one meal per day. The pirates will starve them to death if the ransom is not paid, Sudhir had told the parents.

Now, the parents do not trust the company anymore and have put their hope on the Government.   


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Man killed as stone rolls down hill, breaks through moving HRTC bus window in Kullu



Bizzare Bus Accident in Himachal's Kullu

Kullu: A big round stone rolled down a hill and broke through the window of a moving Himachal Pradesh Road Corporation (HRTC) bus that was heading towards Kullu from Rampur today. The accident occurred near Luhri in Kullu.  A co-passenger who was sitting beside the deceased also came in spate and received injuries.

However, the deceased, who was identified as Manohar Singh (60) of Tippal village in Anni, died on the spot.  The injured was identified as Vijay Kumar of Kumarsain. He was taken to hospital in Rampur. 

The death came from nowhere and picked up its prey within a fraction of a second, said the eyewitnesses. The stone hit Manohar right on his head, which was badly crushed.  

Other passengers were horrified by the bizarre and sudden manner the stone broke through the window like a bullet.  

A police team from Luhri rushed to the spot and took custody of the dead body.  The elected MLA Kishori Lal Sagar also arrived at the spot on hearing the tragic news. The body was later handed over to the family after the postmortem.

The district administration provided Rs. 20, 000 to the victim’s family as immediate relief. The HRTC also announced Rs. 10,000 as relief money.  

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