Senior Congress leader Virbhadra Singh on Friday denied that he had received kickbacks during his tenure as Union Steel Minister, following a purported expose by a private TV news channel.
According to a report by NDTV, the Income Tax Department had seized documents suggesting illicit payments to officials in the Steel Ministry and some State-run firms when I-T had raided the office of a steel company at Ashoka Hotel in December 2010.
Owned and run by Pramod and Vinod Mittal, brothers of steel tycoon and multi-billionaire Lakshmi Niwas Mittal, the company was Ispat Industries Limited (IIL).
According to documents with the channel, one of the intended beneficiaries listed in the records by the Income Tax investigations comes up as "VBS" - someone who received four payments adding up to Rs 2.8 crore from October 2009 to October 2010.
The alleged involvement of Singh, a former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, in the latest case of corruption has put the Congress in a spot, especially since he leads the party´s charge in the poll-bound state.
Refuting the charges, Singh said: "I completely deny this. I am not ´VBS´. Somebody is trying to frame me."
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari also defended Singh saying that "a diary entry is a non-sequitur, it is not evidence that is admissible in court... there´s a difference between investigation and fishing expedition."
In a statement Ispat also denied any wrongdoing saying: "We totally deny making any such payment. We follow best corporate practices....we always work as per the law of the land."