A special court today directed the CBI to hand over certain documents to Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and others in connection with a nearly Rs 10 crore disproportionate assets case against him. Special Judge Virender Kumar Goyal passed the directions after the CBI submitted that the documents could not be handed over to the accused persons as per directions of the court, since the investigating officer was busy in some other case. Singh, his wife Pratibha Singh and others had earlier told the the court that they have not received various documents filed along with the charge sheet.
The court today also sought the agency’s response on the pleas moved by the couple, who have not been arrested so far, seeking exemption from personal appearance. The court put up the matter for further hearing on October 31. Besides the couple, who were present before the court during the day’s proceedings, the other accused in the case include Universal Apple Associate owner Chunni Lal Chauhan, stamp paper vendor Joginder Singh Ghalta, Managing Director of Tarani Infrastructure Vakamulla Chandrasekhar, and co-accused Lawan Kumar Roach, Prem Raj and Ram Prakash Bhatia.
The court had granted them bail on May 29 after they appeared before it in pursuance to the summons issued against them by the court. The charge sheet also names as accused LIC agent Anand Chauhan, who was arrested in a separate money laundering case related to the matter and is currently in judicial custody.
The court had on May 8 summoned them after taking cognisance of the charge sheet filed by the CBI. The CBI charge sheet, running into over 500 pages having the statements of around 225 witnesses and containing 442 documents, has claimed that Singh had amassed assets worth around Rs 10 crore which were disproportionate to his total income during his tenure as a Union minister. Chauhan was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on July 9 last year in a separate money laundering case related to the disproportionate assets case.
The matter was transferred by the Supreme Court to the Delhi High Court, which on April 6, 2016, had asked the CBI not to arrest Singh and directed him to join the probe. On November 5 last year, the apex court had transferred Singh’s plea from the Himachal Pradesh High Court to the Delhi High Court, saying it was not expressing any opinion on the merits of the case, but “simply” transferring the petition “in the interest of justice and to save the institution (judiciary) from any embarrassment”.