Graft cases: Heads will roll, warns Virbhadra

Shimla, Dec. 24 -- Chief minister-designate Virbhadra Singh on Sunday ruled out political "witch hunting", but asserted his first priority would be to tackle the alleged corruption that flourished under the ousted BJP government.

"Heads will roll," the 78-year-old leader said, revealing plans to set up "many special investigation teams" to probe graft charges against the erstwhile Prem Kumar Dhumal-led regime.

A major point of reference would be the Congress "chargesheet" issued a few months ago that had listed violation of land laws to facilitate proxy deals. "Thousands of acres were allotted to outsiders. If need be, our government will set up special courts for speedy trial of corruption cases," he said.

All set to take oath on Tuesday for his sixth term as Himachal Pradesh CM, Singh also hinted at changes in the state vigilance bureau. "While little action was taken against the corrupt, innocent people were trapped in false cases." And there was a not-so-veiled warning to bureaucrats, as he hinted at a probe into the construction of cottages in Beer Khana. "It astonishes me how a government could allow luxury flats in dense forest. You may find heads rolling over the permissions granted."

He also said decisions such as the closure of 700 primary schools would be rolled back and the state administrative tribunal, disbanded during the BJP regime, would be revived.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.