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HP chief minister Virbhadra denies role in land deal

Shimla: Caught in a storm over fresh charges of violating land laws to favour his brother-in-law and close relatives, former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh today dubbed the allegations as "diversionary tactics" to malign him.

He denied his role in granting any favour to his in-laws as the chief minister from 2003-07 in the purported land deal with DLF company for a multi-crore apartment project in Solan district of the state.

Virbhadra Singh. AFP.

Singh, who is also HPCC president, accused some BJP leaders, including Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley and MP Anurag Thakur, of maligning his name.

"These are all diversionary tactics of Dhumal, Jaitley and Anurag, who have hatched a conspiracy to malign me by getting so-called scams and corruption issues highlighted through media, particularly electronic channels, in the run-up to the polls," he told reporters here.

Singh said that while his brother-in-law Arun Sen would respond to the charges, he would take a legal recourse against the private news channel, which had aired the controversy.

He alleged that since he was raising development issues during the past five years of the BJP government in the poll campaign, "Dhumal and associates have chosen to defame me for corruption.

"The new charge about granted favours to my brother-in-law by allowing exemptions to sell their land to the DLF is another attempt fabricated cases against him," he alleged.

"Let me tell you that he cannot cow me down and I am going to pay him (Dhumal) in the same coin on return to power and get all cases of corruption investigated," he retorted. The Congress leader had earlier been accused of receiving payment from a private steel company, a charge he has denied.

PTI