Comment Pieces

Former Himachal CM's son questions Virbhadra's income

Posted on October 09, 2013

Shimla, Oct 8 (IANS)

Former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal's son Tuesday questioned the increase in Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh's income from apple orchards between 2008 to 2011 when he was 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 lakhs to crores, Dhumal's youngest son Arun Singh, facing a criminal case in a land purchase case by violating statutory provisions of land laws, said.

"Virbhadra Singh filed revised income-tax returns for three years on March 2, 2012, in which the agricultural income of a few lakhs of rupees as already disclosed has increased abnormally," Arun told reporters in Shimla.

He questioned how Singh's income had risen so dramatically in these years. "Interestingly, the aggregate income again declined massively in the subsequent year (2011-12) to Rs.25 lakh."

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

Arun said in his original income-tax returns filed in 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11, Virbhadra showed his aggregate income as Rs.23,73,938, Rs.59,67,584 and Rs.40,13,712. 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, respectively.

However, in 2006-07 his aggregate income was Rs.22,56,809.

"It seems large amounts of cash income was unauthorisedly generated by Virbhadra Singh," he said.

Earlier, another Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley had alleged that Virbhadra had modified his income-tax returns during 2008-11 through "forgery" and increased his income by Rs.6.15 crore.

"It is not merely a case of corruption or income-tax evasion. It's a case of forgery and crime," Jaitley told reporters in Shimla in October last year just ahead of the assembly elections.

At that time, the BJP had also attacked the Congress leader on the alleged Ispat Industries payoffs, wherein a diary entry of Rs.2.28 crore was marked against the initials "VBS" during the period when he was the steel minister.

"It clearly appears that large amounts of cash income have been unauthorisedly generated for the benefit of Virbhadra Singh and his family members. The attempt was to deposit this cash in a bank account held by Anand Chauhan (an LIC agent) from where it is paid towards the LIC premiums (of Singh and his family)," Jaitley had said.

The vigilance and anti-corruption bureau Oct 3 registered a first information report (FIR) in a land deal against Dhumal's sons, MP Anurag Thakur and his brother Arun Singh.

Police officials said the FIR was registered in the 2008 land deal by the duo when Dhumal was the chief minister.

Official sources said 32 'marla' land in Dharamsala, some 250 km from the state capital, was allotted to a landless person, Premu, on compassionate grounds in 1992.

"The land couldn't be transferred further for 20 years. But it was sold and even transferred in the name of Anurag in 2008 even before the lock-in period expired," said an official.