Virbhadra Singh PMLA case: Court seeks ED's reply on LIC agent's bail plea
New Delhi, Dec 15: A special court directed the Enforcement Directorate to file by December 19 its response to the bail application of LIC agent Anand Chauhan, chargesheeted in a money laundering case allegedly involving Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh.
Special Judge Santosh Snehi Mann also granted a month to the probe agency to file its supplementary charge sheet in the case after an application was moved by the ED in this regard. The order was passed by the court after the special public prosecutor, N K Matta, appearing for the ED, said that the agency needed time to make the submissions in response to the bail plea and file the probe report.
The accused, currently in judicial custody, claimed in his application moved through advocate Tarannum Cheema that he was not required for the purpose of investigation and has already spent over a year in prison since his arrest in July last year under the provisions of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
The accused was earlier denied similar relief by the court and later the Delhi High Court. In the present application, the accused has cited a recent Supreme Court judgement striking down a stringent condition for securing bail in money laundering cases.
Chauhan was arrested from Chandigarh on July 9 last year under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) as he was allegedly not cooperating with the investigating officer. The ED had alleged that during Chauhan's interrogation, it was found that as an LIC agent he had entered into a modus operandi to launder disproportionate assets by investing in LIC policies.
The agency had alleged that Singh "while serving as a Union minister, invested huge amounts in purchasing LIC policies in his own name and that of his family members through Chauhan".
Singh is not named as an accused by the ED in the present money laundering case. Chauhan is also chargesheeted, along with 82-year old Singh, his wife and others, in a separate case filed by the CBI in the matter. Singh and all the other accused have denied the allegations made against them by the CBI and ED.