Accused by the Bharatiya Janata Party of taking bribe, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh arrived here today to present his version to the Congress high command while slamming the opposition party of indulging in "malicious propaganda" against him and his family.
Singh is understood to have been called here by the high command in the wake of the allegations by BJP Leader Arun Jaitley that he had taken a "bribe" from a private company for extension of a project.
He is expected to meet Congress President Sonia Gandhi and possibly Rahul Gandhi to explain his position in the matter at a time when Congress is seeking to take a high moral ground on the issue of corruption prodded by party vice-president.
The chief minister's wife Prathiba Singh, who has also been accused, visited the All India Congress Committee headquaters and met senior party leaders. As he arrived in New Delhi, Singh insisted that he had taken no bribe and issued an eight-page statement seeking to rebut Jaitley's charges point by point.
"Frustrated BJP leaders are fabricating false stories and twisting and tampering facts to suit their convinence. They have been waging the same old issues pertaining to my income tax return and loan taken by my family, which have been replied and clarified time and again and there is nothing material or new in them" Singh said.
In his statement, Singh alleged that the BJP leaders and their comrades-in-arm have been on a malicious propaganda against him and his family members ever since he took charge of the election campaign in his state last year and led the Congress party to victory in assembly elections.
"As the Congress party and the government in the state has started to grow from strength to strength and the
wrongdoings of the previous BJP govenment especially former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and his sons are getting exposed, personal attacks against me have grown in equal momentum and volume," he said.
"The desperate Dhumals have launched a full throttle vicious attack against me with an ill-intention of hurting my image and reputation and obstructing the progress of the Congress government in the state," the Himachal chief minister said.
His attack on the BJP came on a day when BJP youth wing led by Anurag Thakur, son of former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister P K Dhumal, held a protest against the Virbhadra Singh outside the residence of Rahul Gandhi.
He accused Jaitley of levelling "wild" and "baseless" allegations and illegally procuring his IT return details. "Arun Jaitely not only procured details of my Income Tax returns, which cannot be obtained even under RTI without the consent of the assesse, but also flashed them at a press conference in Shimla on October 23, 2010, withholding parts of it to suit his political agenda," Singh said adding that he had the brought the matter to the notice of Congress chief.
He said Jaitley had leveled same old charges of Income Tax Returns and giving favours to Ispat Industry by him.
"Preliminary inquiry is being made by the Central Bureau of Investigation, Delhi Branch, on the basis of an anonymous complaint on the same old charges and has been included in the public interest litigation filed by (lawyer) Prashant Bhushan in the Delhi High court after the government initiated a case of illegal land purchase by him," Singh said.
He termed the cases as "foul play" and said all these cases have been maneuvered by the BJP to "hamper the progress of Congress party and government" in the state.
"I am personally being targeted as I have single-handedly launched attack on the BJP and am working to strengthen the Congress party in all areas of the state.
"The BJP is forseeing defeat in all four seats in the state in the coming parliamentary elections. The entire BJP, after targeting senior UPA ministers, is also trying to destablise
Congress in the states including mine and the sole objective of the BJP is simply to harm the Congress party keeping in view forthcoming General elections," Singh said.
He said that after coming to power in Himachal, his government handed over a charge sheet to the state vigilance department and that hurting the BJP leaders.
"The charge sheet contained serious charges of corruption and land scams against P K Dhumal and his family members, high profile land cases involving Ramdev's Patanjali Yogpeeth, Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan's trust, HPCA's hotel, Bemloe construction, Annandale area etc.
"All the acts of omission and comission are enlisted in the charge sheet are now being probed and BJP leaders are feeling the heat of it," Singh added.