Virbhadra Singh accused of getting unsecured loan

Shimla, Oct 9 (IANS) Himachal's Bharatiya Janata Party chief Prem Kumar Dhumal's youngest son accused Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his parliamentarian wife Pratibha Singh here Wednesday of raising an unsecured loan of Rs.3.90 crore.

BJP leader Dhumal's son Arun Dhumal, who is facing criminal charges of violating statutory provisions of land laws in a land purchase case, questioned the rationale behind raising the Rs.3.90 crore by the chief minister and his wife.

Talking to reporters, he asked the chief minister why the loan was raised, even though his bank accounts had over Rs.10 crore in safe deposit.

Arun Dhumal said that the loans - Rs.1.50 crore by Pratibha Singh and Rs.2.40 crore by Virbhadra Singh - were raised from Vakamulla Chander Sekhar from New Delhi.

He showed an affidavit on properties and assets filed by Pratibha Singh along with her nomination papers for the June 2013 Mandi parliamentary by-election.

The affidavit showed Pratibha Singh has Rs.9.44 crore as deposits with banks and financial instruments.

"What was the need for Virbhadra Singh and Pratibha Singh, who are public representatives, to take such a huge loan and that too from a private individual? Who is this Vakamulla? What benefit did the CM (chief minister) extend to that man," Arun asked.

The bank account details of Virbhadra Singh in the years 2004, '07, '09 and '12, based on the affidavits filed by him or his wife about properties and assets along with their nomination papers during the assembly and Lok Sabha elections, are as follows:

In 2004, his bank accounts had Rs.12 crore, while these were Rs.2.43 crore in '07, Rs.2.67 crore in '09, and Rs.5.90 crore in '12.

"LIC policies worth several crore were made in the name of Virbhadra Singh and his family during this period (2009-11). This needs to be explained," he said.

The former chief minister's son questioned the exponential increase in Virbhadra Singh's income, mainly from apple orchards, between 2008 and 2011 during which he was the union steel minister.

The revised income-tax returns filed by Virbhadra Singh for 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 show a huge increase in his agricultural income from a few lakh to a crore rupees, said Arun, whose elder brother Anurag Thakur is MP from Hamirpur.

He questioned how Virbhadra Singh's income rose so dramatically in these years. "Interestingly, the aggregate income again declined massively in the subsequent year (2011-12) to Rs.25 lakh (after he resigned as the union minister)."

"Under which income-tax rules has he filed the returns? All returns filed later on are not allowed by tax law," he said.

Arun Dhumal said in his original income-tax returns filed in 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11, Virbhadra Singh showed his aggregate income respectively as Rs.2,373,938, Rs.5,967,584 and Rs.4,013,712.

But in the revised returns filed on March 2, 2012, his income rose to Rs.2.37 crore, Rs.3.25 crore and Rs.1.70 crore for these financial years.

However, in 2006-07 his aggregate income was Rs.2,256,809.

"It seems large amounts of cash income was unauthorisedly generated by Virbhadra Singh (when he was the steel minister)," Arun Dhumal said.

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