Himachal CM Virbhadra Singh Appears Before ED in Laundering Case

The ED has summoned the Himachal CM to question about alleged amassing of assets.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Thursday appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in New Delhi in connection with a money laundering case registered against him and others.

The agency has summoned Singh in order to record his statement in this case and also to confront him with some documents it has seized and recovered in this case of disproportionate assets.

He sent an official communication to the agency stating his reasons for not being able to appear before it all this while and had sought a new date from it, after which the new summons were issued for 20 April.

The ED had on Wednesday refused to give any assurance in the Delhi High Court that it will not arrest Singh when he appears before it. The submission was made before Justice RK Gauba by the ED during the hearing of Singh’s plea for quashing of the money laundering proceedings against him. 

The ED summons have come close on the heels of filing of a chargesheet by the CBI against Singh, his wife and others for allegedly amassing assets worth around Rs 10 crore disproportionate to their known sources of income.

The ED had summoned Singh earlier also, but then he had excused himself stating he had official commitments. The ED has already questioned his wife Pratibha and son Vikramaditya in connection to the case.

It had filed a case under the anti-money laundering law against the Himachal Pradesh chief minister, his family members and others after taking cognisance of a complaint filed by the CBI in this regard in September 2015.

The agency is probing allegations against Singh and his family members of amassing wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income between 2009 and 2011 when he was the Union Minister of Steel. It has also attached assets worth about Rs 14 crore in the case.

Also Read: Virbhadra Singh DA Case: ED Attaches Rs 27-Crore Delhi Farmhouse

The CBI chargesheet alleged that Singh had amassed assets worth around Rs 10 crore which were disproportionate by 192 per cent of his total income during his tenure as a Union minister.

The final report was filed against nine people for alleged offences punishable under Section 109 (abatement) and 465 (punishment for forgery) of the IPC and relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, arrayed around 225 witnesses and 442 documents.

Besides the 82-year-old Congress leader and his wife Pratibha Singh, the report also arraigned Chunni Lal Chauhan, Joginder Singh Ghalta, Prem Raj, Vakamulla Chandrasekhar, Lawan Kumar Roach and Ram Prakash Bhatia as accused.

It also named as accused LIC agent Anand Chauhan, who is currently in judicial custody. Chauhan was arrested by the ED on 9 July last year in this money laundering case.