Shimla, Oct 12 (IANS) Adversaries, it seems, have brought out the best in Arun Dhumal, the youngest son of former chief minister and BJP leader Prem Kumar Dhumal.
So far playing on the back foot, Arun Dhumal, who is a vice president of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA), has suddenly turned offensive ever since the political wicket became slippery for him and his family.
His supporters and critics believe Dhumal, 37, who has so far shied away from politics, may now move out of the pavilion and enter the field.
He does not currently hold any position in the BJP, though his elder brother, Anurag Thakur,is HPCA president and MP from Hamirpur.
Less than a week after the vigilance and anti-corruption bureau booked Dhumal's both sons for allegedly grabbing land near Dharamsala by forging revenue records, Arun Dhumal hasheld three press briefings, one daily, in Shimla from Monday.
This was the first media briefing of his career.
Armed with affidavits and revenue documents to substantiate his claim that the land deal was genuine, the business management and engineering graduate slammed Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on the first day for using the vigilance bureau as a tool to settle political scores.
"I will prove that the case registered against me and my brother is simply an act of vendetta," he said.
Clarifying that no illegality was committed in purchasing 32 marlas of land in 2008 from one Premu on the outskirts of Dharamsala, where the HPCA's picturesque stadium is located, he said the deal materialised with the consent of the seller and his family.
At the second conference, Dhumal displayed a set of documents relating to the revised income tax returns of Virbhadra Singh for 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11, his investments in the single premium life insurance policies of his family and his bank accounts.
The former chief minister's son also questioned the exponential increase in Virbhadra Singh's income, mainly from apple orchards, between 2008 and 2011 during which he was union steel minister.
At his third press conference, he questioned the rationale behind the chief minister and his parliamentarian wife Pratibha Singh raising an unsecured loan of Rs.3.90 crore from one Vakamulla Chander Sekhar of New Delhi.
"There is no corresponding detail of the borrowed money being deposited in any of the bank accounts of both the husband and wife," he said.
His assertion of raising the loan was based on an affidavit on properties and assets filed by Pratibha Singh along with her nomination papers for the June 2013 Mandi parliamentary by-election.
Countering this, two of Virbhadra Singh's cabinet colleagues, Sujan Singh Pathania and Thakur Singh Bharmouri, said in a statement that the Dhumal family's lust for land had crossed all levels of meanness.
They did not even spare a poor person, Premu, who was given 'nautor' land by the government and purchased his land in violation of law and rendered him landless.
Two other cabinet ministers, Sudhir Sharma and Prakash Chaudhary, alleged that a malicious campaign had been launched by the Dhumal family, which was making wild allegations out of sheer frustration as its misdeeds are now coming out in public.
Regarding the loans taken by Virbhadra Singh, the ministers said in a separate statement that it was taken through a cheque at 12 percent interest by adopting the proper procedure and this was duly documented.
Arun Dhumal was illegally distributing copies of the chief minister's income tax returns to the media, which was an offence in itself, they said.
They asked the Dhumal family to tell the people how it had grabbed a public school and acquired a petrol pump and a jewellery shop in Punjab's Jalandhar town. They also questioned Prem Kumar Dhumal's having more than one PAN card.
"It appears that the junior Dhumal is trying to make a case for himself for the (2014 parliamentary) elections," ministers Pathania and Bharmouri said.
(Vishal Gulati can be contacted email@example.com)