BJP questions Virbhadra's income, Congress questions timing

Last Updated: Tue, Oct 23, 2012 13:40 hrs

Shimla/New Delhi, Oct 23 (IANS) Former union minister Virbhadra Singh, spearheading the Congress campaign in Himachal Pradesh, Tuesday again came under attack from the BJP on charges of forgery and money laundering.

Launching a scathing attack against Singh, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley said in Shimla that Singh had modified his income tax returns during 2008-11 through "forgery" and increased his income by Rs.6.15 crore.

Defending himself, the five-time former Congress chief minister, however, said some leaders of the BJP, especially Jaitley, "seem to know more than me about my income tax returns".

In Delhi, Congress spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit questioned the timing of the allegation and said it was for the income tax department to look into the matter.

"The revelations have come in the middle of an election campaign. The timing is questionable. It is for the income tax department to look into the matter," Dikshit told reporters.

"Virbhadra Singh has now 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 now increased by Rs.6.15 crore. It's by a miracle or forgery," Jaitley told reporters in Shimla.

"It is not merely a case of corruption or income tax evasion. It's a case of forgery and crime," Jaitley added.

Earlier, the BJP had 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 Singh was steel minister in the central government.

"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 said.

He added: "However, since the income tax department became aware of this transaction, back-dated agreements are entered into to prepare a false defence by retrospectively increasing Singh's income."

The BJP leader demanded that a special investigative team be set up to probe the case.

Singh said in a statement in Shimla that "I have filed my income tax return for the financial year 2011-12 which is true and factual and they are supported by vouchers and receipts."

"I am surprised how Arun Jaitley acquired a private and personnel document which is in safe custody of the competent authorities. They are using these methods to mislead the people by putting up false, fabricated and fake allegations against me," he said.

More from Sify: