In a setback to Union minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha, the Himachal Pradesh high court on Saturday declined to stay the couple's trial in a case of alleged corruption and asked them to appear before the special court.
The high court also gave no relief to Singh and his wife on their plea to quash the case and refer it to the Central Bureau of Investigation.
The case relates to an audio CD which was released by former minister Vijay Singh Mankotia at a press conference at Dharamshala on May 28, 2007, alleging that it contained the voices of Virbhadra Singh, Pratibha Singh, retired IAS officer Mohinder Lal and K N Sharma, the then OSD to Singh, regarding some monetary deal.
The case was heard by the high court on January 5 and the order reserved.
The chargesheet in the case has been filed in the trial court.
A division bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice V K Ahuja said, "The order of the trial court of October 23, 2010, summoning the accused to appear before the court was final and the petitioners have to face the next stage of consideration of charge".
Merely consideration of charge did not mean that charges have been framed, the bench added.
"The consideration and framing of charge are two different concepts and merely because the case is posted for consideration of charge does not mean that the charge is to be framed," the bench said, adding, "the charge is to be framed only if the accused are not discharged and on the formation of the opinion by the court that there is ground for presuming that the accused has committed the offence".