New Delhi/Shimla, Dec 31: Around 300 protesters from the BJP’s youth wing were detained in Delhi Tuesday while demanding the resignation of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh over allegations of corruption. The chief minister denied the allegations, saying they were politically motivated.
Police sprayed water at the demonstrators as they tried to break police barricades outside Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s residence in Delhi, police and BJP sources said. The detainees were later let off.
“The Congress should remove Virbhadra Singh as chief minister as he had granted undue favours to a hydropower company that was setting up a project in the state,” Bharatiya Janata Party MP and youth wing president Anurag Thakur told reporters outside Gandhi’s residence.
The protest lasted almost two hours. “When the protesters refused to disperse, we used water cannons on them,” a Delhi Police official told IANS.
On Monday, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley demanded a probe and action against Virbhadra Singh from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Congress.
Jaitley alleged that Virbhadra Singh accepted money around Rs.1.5 crore and Rs.2.4 crore, through cheques in his and his parliamentarian wife Pratibha Singh’s name, from Venture Energy and Technology Pvt. Ltd.
He said the company was given two extensions in a hydel power project despite defaulting.
“In the past few decades, no case of corruption has been so open and shut,” Jaitley said.
Meanwhile, Virbhadra Singh accused the BJP of levelling charges against him and his family as it was apprehending legal action for illegal deeds during its previous regime in the state.
“Investigations are on. Apprehending legal action, it’s levelling same old charges against me. I am not afraid of them. Investigations will continue,” the chief minister told reporters in Dharamsala town.
On Jaitley’s letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation, he said: “I am ready for probe by any agency.”
Meanwhile, another BJP leader and former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal Tuesday asked the chief minister to resign till an enquiry was completed into the “shady deals” that he and his family had done with Vakamulla Chandersekhar of New Delhi, whose company was executing a hydropower project in the state.
“The chief minister has cheated the income tax department and the election commission by not giving any information about loans taken by him and his wife from the firms of Chandersekhar,” Dhumal said in Hamirpur town, his home constituency.
Dhumal, a two-time chief minister, said that if Virbhadra Singh did not resign, the BJP would move the president and governor to sack him from his post and conduct an inquiry by the CBI.
“Till then, the party would continue to launch agitations for his (Virbhadra Singh’s) resignation,” he said.