The Delhi High Court today asked Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, an accused in a disproportionate assets case along with others, to join the probe in the matter and directed CBI not to arrest him.
Justice Pratibha Rani said this after Singh told the court that he was willing to join the investigation and cooperate with the agency.
“They (Singh’s counsel) are saying that they are ready to join the investigation. It is only about joining the investigation. They will join. You (CBI) will not arrest him,” the court said.
The court said this while disposing of CBI’s plea seeking vacation of Himachal Pradesh High Court’s interim order of October 1, 2015 restraining the agency from arresting, interrogating or filing a charge sheet against Singh in the case.
The court told senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who appeared for Singh, to provide the personal mobile number of his client to the agency and also said Singh will have to join the probe whenever he is called by the investigating officer (IO).
During the hearing, Sibal told the court that Singh was willing to join the probe. Additional Solicitor General (ASG) P S Patwalia, who appeared for CBI, initially pressed for modification of the interim order saying the agency “should be given a free hand to investigate” the case.
However, at the fag end of the hearing, the ASG said, “We are happy that he(Singh) is willing to join the investigation. Let him join the investigation. He should be rest assured that nothing extraordinary would happen. We will take it in the normal course.”
Yesterday, Singh had said he had no problem in joining the CBI’s investigation in the matter after the Delhi High Court asked him why he was not doing so.
The court had said it would refer the matter to the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court to decide whether a single judge bench can hear this plea as the interim order was passed by a division bench of Himachal Pradesh HC. (More) PTI ABA HMP
The CBI had yesterday told the court that investigation in the case was “seriously held up” due to the interim order passed by Himachal Pradesh High Court.
It had said as per the interim order, CBI can neither record Singh’s statement, nor can it interrogate him and the agency cannot file a charge sheet in the case without taking the court’s permission.
On February 25 on Singh’s plea seeking quashing of FIR lodged against him and others in the case, the CBI had told the bench that its investigation was “held up” due to the interim order of Himachal Pradesh HC.
On November 5 last year, the Supreme 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 from the Himachal Pradesh HC to Delhi High Court and setting aside of the interim order granting protection from arrest and other relief to Singh.
Singh had filed a petition in Himachal Pradesh HC pleading that searches on his private residence and other premises were conducted with “malafide intentions and political vendetta” by the central investigating agency.
Singh had sought directions from the high court to quash CBI’s FIR registered in Delhi against him and others under Sections 13 (2) and 13(1)(e) of Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 109 of IPC.
( Source – PTI )