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CBI moves SC, seeks to question Himachal CM

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New Delhi: The CBI on Thursday moved the Supreme Court to challenge a Himachal Pradesh High Court order restraining it from interrogating Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife in an alleged disproportionate assets case and sought their custodial interrogation.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) also filed a petition in the apex court to seek transfer of the case against Virbhadra Singh from Himachal Pradesh to Delhi, where a similar case is pending against him.

An apex court bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu said the plea would be heard on the opening day after the Dussehra holidays. Additional Solicitor General PS Patwalia mentioned the matter before the court in the morning and sought early hearing. The high court order of October 1 has virtually stalled the investigation process, he said.

The high court has asked the CBI not to arrest the chief minister and his wife in the disproportionate assets case. However, it directed the central agency to go ahead with the investigation.

“…by way of abundant precaution, it’s made clear that the petitioners shall not be arrested,” a division bench of Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Sureshwar Singh Thakur said while hearing a writ petition filed by Virbhadra Singh.

In his petition, Virbhadra Singh said the CBI’s action of raiding his residences on September 26 in Delhi and Shimla was mala fide and political vendetta.

Regarding interrogation of Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh following the registration of the case on September 23, the high court said: “It’s also made clear that as and when the dossier is complete, it shall be open for the CBI to approach this court for permission to interrogate the petitioners in accordance with law.”

It clarified to the CBI that it shall not file a challan without the express leave of this court. “These observations shall have no bearing on whether a case in pending, including before the Delhi High Court.”

The next date of hearing in the high court is November 18.

The CBI raided Virbhadra Singh’s private residence, Holly Lodge, in Jakhu Hills in Shimla, on September 26. At that time, the chief minister and his family were busy with his daughter’s marriage.

The case was registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act against Virbhadra Singh, his wife Pratibha Singh, LIC agent Anand Chauhan and an associate, Chunni Lal.

“The FIR was the outcome of a preliminary inquiry which revealed that Virbhadra Singh, while serving (as union minister) during 2009-2012, had allegedly accumulated assets worth Rs 6.03 crore in his name and in the name of his family members which were found to be disproportionate to his known sources of income,” a CBI official said.

(IANS)

 

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Concerned Over The Rise of Drug Usage In The State: Himachal Governor

A three-day horse trade-cum-exhibition was organised before the beginning of the Lavi Fair.

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There are countless mothers who have been constantly tormented by drug-dependent adolescent children. Pixabay

Himachal Pradesh Governor Acharya Devvrat on Sunday expressed concern over the rise in drug addiction, particularly among the youth in the state, and called for concerted efforts to tackle the menace.

“Effective steps have been taken by the government and police administration, but we all need to work together in this direction,” he said at the inauguration of the centuries-old Lavi Fair in Rampur town, which was once a centre of barter trade with Tibet.

He called upon the people to promote natural farming. The state government has made a provision of Rs 25 crore to promote natural or organic farming to produce chemical-free food.

The 400-year-old Lavi Fair has undergone a sea change with the rural folk’s changing lifestyles and aspirations, resulting in a greater sale of gadgets and automobiles than traditional items such as farm implements, livestock and dry fruits.

Himachal
‘The traders from across the border have stopped coming’ Pixabay

The fair dates back to the time when Raja Kehari Singh of Rampur Bushahr state signed a treaty to promote trade with Tibet.

Rampur, 120 kilometres from state capital Shimla, was once a major trade centre as it is located on the old silk route connecting Afghanistan, Tibet and Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir.

“People have stopped buying farm implements, horses and sheep. Now, they prefer to shop luxury goods like television sets and automobiles,” trader Ishwar Goyal told IANS.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur will preside over the concluding session of the fair on November 14.

Another trader Deepak Negi said Rampur was a centre of trade before the 1962 India-China war.

The traders from Tibet used to bring raw wool, butter, herbs and leather products and bartered them for wheat, rice, farm implements and livestock.

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Rampur, 120 kilometres from state capital Shimla, was once a major trade centre as it is located on the old silk route connecting Afghanistan. Pixabay

“Now, the traders from across the border have stopped coming. Indian multinational companies come here to sell their products. The fair has largely lost its relevance,” he added.

A three-day horse trade-cum-exhibition was organised before the beginning of the Lavi Fair. The main attraction during the exhibition were the Chamurthi horses – an endangered species known as the ‘Ship Of the Cold Desert’. Being a surefooted animal, it is mainly used for transporting goods in the Himalayas.

Also Read: Quitting Junk Food May Cause You to Suffer Withdrawal Symptoms Similar to Drug Addition

The Chamurthi horse traces its origin to the Tibet region. In India, it’s bred in the villages of Himachal Pradesh bordering China.

The fair sees several folk artistes from Punjab and Himachal Pradesh perform. (IANS)