EC seeks report on Himachal CM, wife's affidavits

Shimla, Jan 7 : The Election Commission (EC) has sought a report from the Himachal Pradesh election commission regarding the declarations of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his parliamentarian wife Pratibha in their election affidavits, an official said here Tuesday.

The action came after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Anurag Thakur met Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath in Delhi Jan 1 and sought action against the duo, saying they had hidden information in their election affidavits.

Confirming this development, state chief electoral officer Narinder Chauhan told IANS a communication in this regard was received from the EC.

"Our reply has been sought on affidavits of Virbhadra and Pratibha Singh," Chauhan said and added: "But no time frame has been fixed (to send the reply)."

While Congress leader Virbhadra Singh filed an affidavit Oct 17, 2012 on his properties and assets filed along with the nomination papers for the state assembly elections, Pratibha filed papers for the Mandi parliamentary seat bypoll May 30, 2013.

Official sources said the candidatures of Virbhadra Singh and Pratibha would expire in 2017 and June this year, respectively.

Pressing for the chief minister's resignation over allegations of corruption, the BJP has moved the EC and called upon the Congress leadership to take action against him.

The party alleged that promoter of Venture Energy and Technology Pvt. Ltd., given extension for a pending hydropower project by the Himachal government, made cheque payments of Rs.3.5 crore "to Virbhadra Singh and his wife, Pratibha".

The BJP further alleged that the money was shown as loan, and Virbhadra Singh and his family had become shareholders in another firm belonging to the power firm's promoter.

Thakur, also Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha president, said the chief minister had not declared the payments or the shares in his election affidavit.

"We told the EC that if Virbhadra Singh has hidden information, strict action should be taken against him," Thakur said, adding that the poll panel assured them that appropriate action would be taken.

--IANS (Posted on 07-01-2014)

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