Virbhadra Singh denies BJP allegations of corruption

Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh, facing corruption allegations from the BJP, yesterday told the Congress leadership that there was no substance in the charges leveled against him, even as the opposition party referred to the matter to the Election Commission.

The chief minister, who had been camping in the national capital for a meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi to present his side of the story, could only meet AICC general secretary in-charge of his state Ambika Soni.

According to commentators, he seems to have convinced Soni and other leaders that he had been targeted by the BJP for reasons other than what were apparent. Virbhadra had spared no efforts to come out clean following the accusation by the BJP against him of extending favours to a power company owned by Vakamulla Chandresekher, in return for a loan to his wife Pratibha Singh.

The Himachal Pradesh chief minister also met Congress leader and ace lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi amid talks that the former might file a case against BJP Yuva Morcha chief Anurag Thakur, who yesterday filed a complaint against him before the EC.

Meanwhile, reports said, the BJP has mounted pressure on Singh with a demand for his resignation as also moving the Election Commission.

Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh, an MP, have been accused by the BJP of ''hiding facts about their incomes in affidavits filed during polls''. Party MP and Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha chief Anurag Thakur met chief election commissioner VS Sampath and handed over a memorandum calling for action against Singh and his wife.

Thankur said Singh should resign immediately and that the Congress needed to decide on any other candidate for chief ministership, adding that this was the fifth corruption charge against Singh. It was also a test for the Congress to prove if it was really serious on the issue of corruption.

It would also prove whether Rahul Gandhi meant what he had been saying on corruption, he added.