PM sidesteps query on corruption charges against Virbhadra

New Delhi, Jan 3 : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday sidestepped the allegations of graft levelled by BJP leader Arun Jaitley against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh.

"I am sorry I am not able to comment on what you are referring to happening in Himachal Pradesh," the prime minister said here while replying to a question on allegations against the chief minister of favouring a private company that he and his family had business interests in that company.

"I have seen from the newspaper reports. I have also received a letter on 29th of December by Arun Jaitley. But I haven't had the time to apply my mind to it about what the truth is in the allegations," he added.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has already clarified that "the allegations are politically motivated".

Alleging that there was an "open and shut case of corruption" against Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh over payments from a power company's promoter, Jaitley Dec 30 demanded a probe and action from Manmohan Singh and the Congress.

At a press conference here, Jaitley alleged Virbhadra Singh accepted money to the tune of Rs.1.5 crore and Rs.2.4 crore, through cheques in his and his parliamentarian wife Pratibha Singh's name, from Venture Energy and Technology Pvt. Ltd.

He said the company was given two extensions in a hydel power project despite defaulting.

"In the past few decades, no case of corruption has been so open and shut," Jaitley said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said he has written a letter to Manmohan Singh demanding a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation, and added it was a test for Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi to walk the talk on corruption.

"This will be a test for the Congress party, Sonia and Rahul. Congress has to answer how this man can continue. Are Sonia and Rahul helpless in dealing with him?" he asked.

--IANS (Posted on 03-01-2014)

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