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Indian MP denies bribery charges
Publication Date : 25-10-2012
Calling the corruption allegations against him “wishful thinking”, Himachal Pradesh Congress chief Virbhadra Singh yesterday hit back at the BJP (Indian People's Party), saying the main opposition party is targeting him because its defeat is on the cards in the poll-bound state.
“The BJP is on the back foot in the state because of the Congress’ campaign. So instead of raising election issues, they are making baseless and false allegations against me. I stoutly deny these charges. It amounts to character assassination,” he said, while addressing a press conference here.
Singh said that he had not favoured Ispat Industries, the steel company from which he allegedly took a bribe while he was Union steel minister. This, he said, showed that there was no question of the latter having made the alleged payment.
Denying that he was the “VBS” who was shown to have received payment in a diary recovered from the company. “I never call myself VBS. My name can be abbreviated as VS not VBS,” Singh said, adding that he welcomes a central bureau of investigation inquiry into the matter.
Accusing Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal of vendetta politics, five-time former chief minister Virbhadra Singh said he will file defamation cases against those making false corruption charges against him.
Criticising senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley for releasing his (Singh’s) income tax (IT) returns to media to establish the alleged corruption charges, the veteran Congress leader said he has not forged any documents or filed fake IT returns. Claiming that his entire income is from horticulture, Singh said he has given full details to the IT Department about his sources of income and the department can question him if it notices any discrepancy in his the IT returns.
On the manifold rise in income shown in his IT returns, he said every individual has the right to revise his final IT returns.
On his aide, Anand Chauhan, who allegedly brokered deals for him, Singh said he had entered into an agreement with the former for the marketing of produce from the orchards and to look after the related work. “The money, which he has invested is my money, which has been accounted for. When the income rose, we revised our returns. We have properly explained this in the IT return,” he said.
A document seized during an Income Tax Department search at the offices of Ispat Industries in Delhi on Nov 30, 2010, suggests that 2.27 crore rupees was paid to “VBS” between October 2009 and August 2010.
Some of the payments made to “VBS” between October 2009 and August 2010 coincide with huge deposits in the bank account of Chauhan, an LIC agent and business partner of the former Union minister of steel.