Shimla: Anand Chauhan, a close aide of senior Congress leader Virbhadra Singh, has denied charges of income tax evasion by the latter, and accused the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of maligning the chief ministerial candidate's reputation.
Leading newspaper 'The Hindu' had reported that Singh had changed his income tax documents from 2008 onwards to show a back-dated contract and a highly inflated income of around Rs. 6.5 crore from appeal business.
In June 2012, Singh had quit as Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Minister after a court had framed charges of corruption against him.
Chauhan has alleged that the BJP, which is ruling poll-bound Himachal Pradesh stated, wanted to malign Singh.
"The BJP is trying to malign such a big personality Virbhadra Singh due to upcoming polls in Himachal Pradesh," said Chauhan in Shimla.
Earlier, a news channel reported, based on documents from the income tax department, stating that Ispat Industries Limited paid bureaucrats and officials in the steel and coal ministries during 2009-2010, when Singh was minister and he could be a beneficiary.
"His entire family owns many orchards. Why can't there be such an income from it? His income has not increased not in one year but in the last three to four years. The media has put out wrong data. We do have documents and proof. There is no problem, " added Chauhan.
Congress leader Jagdambika Pal also defended Singh.
"He has many apple orchards. His income, which increased from Rs.700,000 to more than Rs.1 crore, is related to his business. He hasn't got any benefit from the government," Pal told reporters in Lucknow.
The Communist Party of India (CPI) said the UPA Government, which is headed by the Congress, is an alliance full of scamsters.
"I think the people of Himachal must understand, and people of this country have understood that the whole Congress Party and the UPA Government is full of scamsters," said CPI leader Atul Anjan in New Delhi.
The money was deposited in account of Anand Chauhan, who was appointed by Singh to manage his apple orchards and to invest the income from the sale of apples in government securities such as insurance policies etc.
Chauhan then used this money from his account to pay the insurance premiums of LIC policies issued in name of Singh, his wife and his two children.