I am not threatening officers, clarifies Virbhadra

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Shimla, Apr 5 (UNI) Former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh today clarified that he was not threatening any government official as claimed by Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, saying this was against his tradition and culture.

''This is wrong. I am not threatening any government officials. The whole state knows who has been issuing threats to officials,'' he said in a release here.

Mr Singh was referring to reports in a section of the press about the Chief Minister accusing him of threatening government officials.

He said while Mr Dhumal was in the opposition, several of such threats to government employees and officials were published in the newspapers.

Referring to the Chief Minister's statement that he had a ''guilty conscience'', Mr Singh said he was not afraid of anyone, except God and even during his previous tenure he had tried to implicate him and several other Congress leaders in false cases.

''Even though the present government was again trying to implicate its political adversaries in false cases, yet I am not afraid.'' The former chief minister said transfer of officials and employees was the government's prerogative and he had never approached the present government to retain his principal private secretary Subhash Ahluwalia in the chief minister's office.

The previous government ensured that all employees and officials were given due respect and even those officials who were considered close to the BJP were given respectable positions, while the present government were punishing officials, he said.

Mr Singh said those who were neck deep in corruption had no moral right to point fingers at others and to belittle the previous government's tenure would be wrong.

Lauding the the previous Congress Government for ensuring Himachal's progress and development, he said as against this the present government was carrying out a witch hunt against its political adversaries and officials were being transferred in large numbers, besides raising the bogey of regionalism and casteism.

UNI AS PS SY HT1805

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