It also vacates Himachal Pradesh HC’s interim order restraining CBI from arresting, interrogating or filing a charge sheet in the case without the court’s permission.
The Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife’s plea seeking the quashing of a disproportionate assets (DA) case filed by the CBI.
Justice Vipin Sanghi also vacated the Himachal Pradesh High Court’s interim order of October 1, 2015, restraining the CBI from arresting, interrogating or filing a charge sheet in the case without the court’s permission.
“The writ petition is dismissed. Stay is vacated,” the court said.
Mr. Singh has sought directions from the court to quash the FIR registered against him and his wife under Sections 13(2) and 13(1)(e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 109 of IPC by the CBI on September 23, 2015 here and urged the court to summon records of the preliminary inquiry and the FIR.
Mr. Singh and wife Pratibha Singh claimed in their plea that there was no order, direction or judgment by any court that authorised the CBI to inquire, investigate or register regular cases and exercise jurisdiction in the territory of Himachal Pradesh.
The Chief Minister contended that the raids on his private residence and other premises were conducted with “mala fide intentions and political vendetta” by the central investigating agency.He alleged that the CBI overstepped its jurisdiction in filing the case as the cause of action did not arise in the territory of Delhi.
Mr. Singh also claimed that the permission of the State government and Home Department were not taken before raiding the residence of a sitting chief minister.
The CBI contended that the allegations against Mr. Singh in the case are “very serious” as a huge amount of money was involved and the State government has shown “over anxiety” in protecting him. It said it had jurisdiction to register and investigate the case in Delhi as the disproportionate assets were allegedly acquired by the Congress leader from the income generated here when he was a Union minister during the UPA regime.
The matter was transferred by the Supreme Court to the Delhi High Court, which on April 6, 2016 asked the CBI not to arrest Mr. Singh and directed him to join the probe.
On November 5 last, the apex court transferred Mr. Singh’s plea from the Himachal Pradesh High Court to the Delhi High Court, 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“.