Himachal BJP demands CM's resignation

Shimla, Aug 7 (IANS): A day after the central government claimed that a case of money laundering was prima facie made out against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, the opposition BJP Thursday created ruckus in the assembly demanding his resignation.

As the house assembled in the morning, BJP members Mohinder Singh and Rajeev Bindal asked Speaker B.B.L. Butail about the fate of their notice for an adjournment motion.

Mohinder Singh said the chief minister has "no moral right to continue as chief minister till he comes out clean in the money laundering case".

"He had to resign from the union cabinet when charges (of corruption) were levelled against him. Now why is he quiet," he said.

The speaker said he had rejected their notice as the matter was sub-judice. "We have no right to discuss the issue."

When the speaker didn't allow the issue to be raised, the BJP members started raising slogans.

In the din, the chief minister read out a statement, saying that the "BJP is trying to draw unnecessary inferences from the court proceedings, which is uncalled for".

"The matter is already under consideration of the (Delhi) high court."

He said it would not be proper for him or anybody else to make any comments on the proceedings in the court.

"I would advise my friends from the BJP to allow the law to take its own course," he said.

The chief minister requested the opposition to let the business of the house be carried out in the larger public interest.

The speaker adjourned the house for the day in less than 10 minutes after it assembled.

The chief minister later told reporters that an attempt is being made to fabricate cases against him.

"I think a section in the central government is involved in this exercise, but I don't want to name them. I will contest the case in court," he said.

On being asked about a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Prashant Bhushan on behalf of NGO Common Cause, the chief minister said he didn't know Bhushan personally.

The NGO has moved the Delhi High Court seeking a CBI inquiry into the corruption allegations against Virbhadra Singh when he was union steel minister.

"Bhushan was allowed to purchase a piece of land in a tea estate in Palampur by the previous BJP government. The BJP government later initiated an inquiry against him (for purchasing the land by violating norms). We have not taken any action against him," he said.

Bhushan had told the high court there were some recent instances of money laundering and corruption by Virbhadra Singh's family members. The CBI initiated a preliminary inquiry one-and-a-half years ago but it has gone nowhere, argued Bhushan.

The court Wednesday posted the matter for Aug 20 when it will have a look at the status report filed by the CBI.

The court also asked the income tax department to file a status report. 


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