Himachal CM fails to keep ED date; agency issues fresh summons

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New Delhi, April 13: The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday issued fresh summons to Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh after he failed to appear before it in connection with a money laundering probe case.

The fresh summons require him to be present before the Investigating Officer of the case in New Delhi on April 20. Officials said the fresh summons were issued under PMLA provisions after the chief minister failed to keep the scheduled date today.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh

It was not immediately ascertained if Singh had communicated to the ED about the reasons for this absence today. The agency had, earlier this week, issued summons to Singh for personal appearance for Thursday and in order to question him and record his statement under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The latest ED action has come close on the heels of filing of a charge sheet 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 his 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 the Himachal Pradesh CM, 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 the HP CM 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 Indian Penal Code and 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 in this money laundering case.

PTI

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