Police have registered a case against former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh and his son, Vikramaditya Singh, for allegedly breaking into a historical structure belonging to a relative over a family dispute.
A few others, including former public works department engineer-in-chief Swami Prakash Negi, were also booked for allegedly helping the duo trespass into the Padam Palace at Rampur. The case was lodged on the basis of a complaint filed by Rajeshwar, property owner and nephew of Virbhadra.
Property caretaker Mast Ram had also filed a complaint on May 9, but it was subsequently withdrawn.
“A case was registered against Virbhadra Singh and others under Section 448 (punishment for house trespass) of the Indian Penal Code,” a police officer confirmed on the condition of anonymity.
The two-page complaint alleged that Virbhadra ordered his men to break open the locks of the Padam Palace and throw out the artefacts and other valuables kept inside.
Ram, who has been in Rajeshwar’s employ for the last 25 years, alleged that the former chief minister and the others forced their way into the palace and ransacked it on May 9. He also claimed that a sum of Rs 30,000 had gone missing from a room in the melee.
Ram was reportedly informed about the intrusion by a guard, identified as Roshan.
The caretaker alleged that the former chief minister had earlier summoned him to his residence and threatened him. Ram withdrew his complaint on May 10, after which Rajeshwar filed his statement before the police.
“(The property dispute arose after) The palace was divided into two portions by my grandfather. It was a family matter that should have been resolved amicably, but this incident has forced me to file a formal complaint,” he said.
The former chief minister could not be reached for comment.