Himachal CM Virbhadra Singh appears before ED in Delhi

RSTV Bureau
New Delhi: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, accused in a money laundering case, arrives to appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in New Delhi on Thursday. PTI Photo

New Delhi: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, accused in a money laundering case, arrives to appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in New Delhi on Thursday. PTI Photo

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

Singh arrived at the agency’s office at about noon. He did not interact with the media but was heard reciting some lines of a patriotic poem: “Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamare dil mein hain, dekhna hai zor kitna baju e qaatil mein hai.”

Singh was summoned to record his statement in this case. He was also likely to be confronted with some documents the ED had seized in the case.

The CM, last week, had also sent a 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 today.

The ED had yesterday 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 a charge sheet being filed 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 agency 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 with the case.

It had filed a case under the anti-money laundering law against Singh, 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.

The CBI charge sheet 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 persons for alleged offences punishable under section 109 (abetment) 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 July 9 last year.

(With inputs from PTI)