Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh is having a tough time as he continues to fight with both Enforcement Directorate (ED) and within the party. After a grilling session with ED in reference to a money laundering case against him, Singh on April 21 met Congress President Sonia Gandhi. As per a report by The Indian Express, the Himachal Pradesh CM has pitched the proposal of replacing state Congress president Sukhvinder Singh Sukku, with whom he has been at loggerheads for some time now.
Singh has proposed to replace Sukku with a Dalit leader of the party and has backed his proposal arguing that a Rajput-Dalit combination will send out a good message to the electorate. Singh is said to have in mind names such as Kuldeep Kumar and Ganguram Musafir, who are former Assembly speakers and five-terms MLAs.
Singh, on Friday, was questioned by the ED for about nine hours in a money laundering case which was logged against him in September 2015, reported NDTV. Singh along with two other Congress leaders Bhupinder Singh Hooda (former Haryana CM) and Motilal Vora (Congress party treasurer) were questioned by the probing agency in separate money laundering cases. ED has so far attached 14 properties of Singh.
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A charge-sheet has already been filed against Singh, his wife and other associates in a disproportionate asset case by the Central Bureau of Investigation. The 82-year-old Himachal CM is accused to have received Rs 6.1 crore that did not match his known source of income, said NDTV. The aforementioned amount is said to be a kickback from a steel company during his regime as UPA’s steel minister between 2009 and 2011.
As per a Times of India report, Singh’s wife Pratibha and son Vikramaditya has already been questioned by the ED. The final report was filed against as many as nine people under various sections of the Indian Penal Court and relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act including 109 (abetment) and 465 (punishment for forgery). A total of 225 witnesses and 442 documents have been secured in the case so far.