New Delhi(PTI): CBI has initiated an enquiry against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh to probe alleged disproportionate assets worth Rs 6.1 crore amassed while he was serving as Union Minister of Steel.
The agency claims that the present probe is an offshoot of its ongoing inquiry into alleged bribe payment made to Singh by a steel firm. CBI sources said the new preliminary enquiry(PE) is against Singh, his wife Pratibha Singh, son Vikramaditya Singh, daughter Aparajita Singh and an LIC agent Anand Chauhan.
The PE will probe with disproportionate assets perspective the alleged unexplained income of Rs 6.1 crore during the period 2009-11 when he was serving as the Minister of Steel in the UPA Government, the sources said. They said it is alleged that Singh while serving as the Union Minister has invested “ill-gotten” Rs 6.1 crore in life insurance policies in his and his family members’ names through LIC agent Chauhan.
The sources said during Assessment Year 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12, Singh had filed the Income Tax returns showing his annual income as Rs 7.35 Lakh, Rs 15 Lakh and Rs 25 Lakh respectively. They said after CBI started an inquiry related to alleged bribe paid to Singh by a steel firm, he allegedly filed revised returns for the three years in 2012. In the revised returns, Singh had shown income during Assessment Years 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 as Rs 2.21 crore, Rs 2.8 crore and Rs 1.55 crore respectively which he claimed to be “agriculture income” from ‘Srikhand orchards’ in Rampur, Himachal Pradesh, they said.
The agriculture income is considered free from Income Tax. The additional amount was invested in LIC policies purchased through Chauhan who also doubled as Manager of his orchards getting two per cent of income from orchards.
They said PE is the first step to examine veracity of a complaint or source information received by the agency and if prima facie allegations are found true further probe is carried out by converting it as FIR also known as regular case. Noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan had filed a PIL against Singh in which he had alleged that the Congress leader had filed revised IT returns showing income with an increment which was 20 to 30 times higher than the income mentioned earlier for the three years.