Himachal BJP seeks probe into hydro project allotment

Shimla, March 3: The opposition BJP in Himachal Pradesh Monday demanded a probe into the re-allotment of a hydropower project to a private company that gave a personal loan to Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his parliamentarian wife.

“Why did Virbhadra Singh mislead everyone regarding a letter written by (state electricity board chief engineer) K.K. Vaidya in February 2005 and showed it to be written in February 2007 when he had already retired,” said BJP legislator Suresh Bhardwaj.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has alleged that the note of February 2005 by Vaidya was used by the government to justify the project re-allotment in 2007 whereas he retired in October 2005.

Both Virbhadra Singh and his wife have denied any wrongdoing.

Venture Energy Technologies Ltd, owned by Vakamulla Chander Sekhar of New Delhi, is executing the project for the 15MW Sai Kothi hydropower plant in Chamba district.

Bhardwaj alleged that the chief minister was using the letter by Vaidya as a shield to cover his misdeeds and corruption.

“Does that not account to forgery and shouldn’t therefore a case of section 420 of the IPC be registered against the chief minister?” he said in a statement.

Bhardwaj said it was common knowledge that a chief engineer cannot supersede the cabinet and cannot go against the undertaking given in the high court.

“We demand a thorough probe into this case by a special investigation team under the supervision of the high court,” the legislator said.

On allegations of raising a loan from a company, Virbhadra Singh has clarified that “as an individual, I have every right to raise a loan”.

“There is nothing to hide. My income tax returns and the election affidavits have clearly reflected that I and my wife have raised loans. So where is the question of any wrongdoing,” he asked.

The chief minister said BJP leader Prem Kumar Dhumal and his family have started a malicious campaign against him since the vigilance and anti-corruption bureau booked both sons of Dhumal – Anurag Thakur and Arun – for allegedly grabbing land near Dharamsala by forging revenue records.