SC GIVES 4-WEEKS’ TIME TO VIRBHADRA TO RESPOND TO CBI’S PLEA IN DISPROPORTIONATE ASSETS CASE

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The Hush Post: While former chief minister Virbhadra Singh was busy in parleys for electing the Leader of Oppositon in HP Vidhan Sabha, another issue raised its head which needs his immediate attention. The apex court has given four week’s time to former Himachal Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh to respond to CBI’s petition challenging a limited part of the Delhi High Court’s verdict which had dismissed his plea for quashing of a disproportionate assets case.

Additional Solicitor General PS Narasimha submitted that the probe agency’s challenge was limited to a particular portion of the high court’s verdict in which it questioned the procedure followed during the probe with regard to the state’s consent.A Bench, headed by Justice RK Agrawal, heard the matter.

The Delhi High Court had in March 2017 refused to quash the disproportionate assets case against Singh and his wife, rejecting their contention that the FIR was a result of “political vendetta”. Justice Vipin Sanghi of the Delhi High Court had dismissed Singh’s plea to quash the CBI’s FIR and vacated the October 1, 2015, order of the Himachal Pradesh High Court that had restrained the probe agency from arresting, interrogating or filing a charge sheet in the case without the court’s permission.

Interestingly, the Supreme Court also in October 2017 dismissed Singh’s plea for quashing the case. In an order passed after an in-chamber hearing on October 23, Justice Deepak Gupta had dismissed Singh’s petition after his counsel failed to “cure” the “defects” pointed out by the Supreme Court’s Registry. According to the court order, Singh’s Advocate-on-Record was not present during the hearing.

In his petition filed in the top court, Singh had wondered as to how the CBI could register a case against him without the state’s consent — which was a pre-requisite under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act. Singh has maintained that CBI overstepped its jurisdiction in filing the case as the cause of action did not arise in the territory of Delhi. The case was transferred to the Delhi HC in November 2015 on the top court’s order.

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