Former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Virbhadra Singh was summoned by a special court on Monday in a money laundering case. His wife Pratibha Singh have also been summoned in the Enforcement Directorate case, facing allegations of projecting around Rs 7 crore unaccounted amount as agricultural income and investing them in purchasing LIC policies.
Issuing summons, Special Judge Santosh Snehi Mann said there was “prima facie” enough evidence against the accused persons. They have to appear before the court on March 22.
Besides Singh and his 62-year-old wife Pratibha Singh, the court summoned Universal Apple Associate owner Chunni Lal Chauhan and two other co-accused, Prem Raj and Lawan Kumar Roach.
The final report also named as accused Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) agent Anand Chauhan, against whom a charge sheet was earlier filed by the agency. All six have been charge sheeted under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Chauhan, arrested on July 9, 2016 by the ED under relevant provisions of the PMLA, was granted bail this year on January 2.
“The proceeds of crime acquired by Virbhadra Singh were projected as agricultural income with the help of Anand Chauhan, LIC agent and Chunni Lal Chauhan and were invested into insurance policies purchased in the name of Singh and his family members and a major part of it, after criss-crossing through various bank accounts found way into acquisition of immovable property,” the ED has claimed.
The “proceeds of crime generated through criminal activities” were managed by Anand Chauhan, who actively assisted him in laundering it by projecting it as untainted, the final report said.
In a separate case filed by the CBI in connection with the matter, Singh, his wife and Anand Chauhan were chargesheeted along with others.
The CBI had claimed that Virbhadra Singh had amassed assets worth around Rs 10 crore which were disproportionate to his total income during his tenure as Union minister.
The matter was transferred by the Supreme Court to the Delhi High Court which, on April 6, 2016, asked the CBI not to arrest Singh and directed him to join the probe.
On November 5 last year, the apex court had transferred Virbhadra Singh’s plea from the Himachal Pradesh High Court to the Delhi High Court.
(With inputs from PTI)