New Delhi, Jul 19: Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought the response of ED on a plea filed by Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh seeking a direction to the agency not to take any coercive step against him in the wake of the arrest of an LIC agent in an alleged money laundering case.
Justice Vipin Sanghi issued notice to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and asked it to file a reply on Singh's plea by July 29, the next date of hearing.
In his plea, Singh has said he apprehended that ED might arrest him on the basis of alleged disclosure statement of insurance agent Anand Chauhan, who was recently arrested from Chandigarh in connection with the case.
Chauhan was arrested by ED under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) as he was allegedly not cooperating with the investigating officer of the case. The probe agency had alleged that Singh, while serving as Union Steel Minister, had invested huge amounts in purchasing LIC policies in his and his family members' names through Chauhan.
Singh's separate plea seeking quashing of the money laundering proceedings is also pending before the high court and would come up for hearing on July 29. ED had earlier termed as "premature" the plea filed by Singh and others seeking quashing of the money laundering proceedings.
It had said the plea seeking stay on the proceedings was "not maintainable" as the inquiry into the matter was in a preliminary stage. ED had last year lodged a money laundering case against Singh and others under the PMLA after taking cognisance of a criminal complaint filed by CBI in this regard.
CBI had lodged a separate disproportionate assets case against Singh and others alleging that he and his family members had amassed wealth of Rs 6.1 crore between 2009 and 2011 disproportionate to the known sources of income.
Earlier, CBI had moved Delhi High Court after the Supreme Court transferred its plea seeking vacation of the Himachal Pradesh High Court's interim order restraining it from arresting, interrogating or filing a charge sheet against Virbhadra.