Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, accused in a money laundering case, is likely to present himself before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday, an official said. Singh will appear before the investigating officer at the ED Headquarters in New Delhi. “We hope that he (Singh) will be present at the ED Headquarters here as we haven’t received any information from his office so far,” ED spokesperson Anil Rawal told IANS. The ED had summoned Singh in the money laundering case on April 18 and had said that he must appear before it on April 20.
Earlier the ED had summoned him on April 13. But he failed. The senior Congress leader had earlier allegedly avoided summons to get his statement recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). He is said to have excused himself by referring to his official commitments. In the first week of April, the ED attached Singh’s Delhi farmhouse worth Rs 27.29 crore.
The agency’s move came after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a chargesheet against Singh and others in March for allegedly amassing assets worth Rs 6.03 crore. The ED had filed a criminal case under the PMLA against Virbhadra Singh, his wife Pratibha, Life Insurance Corporation agent Anand Chauhan, his associate Chunni Lal, and others in 2015 following the CBI’s FIR dated September 23, that year.
The case was registered after a preliminary inquiry found that Singh as Union Minister from 2009 to 2012 allegedly accumulated assets worth Rs 6.03 crore, which were disproportionate to his known sources of income. After his Delhi farmhouse was attached, the Chief Minister accused the Centre of harassing him and destabilising his government. He alleged that central agencies like the ED and CBI were being misused against political opponents by the Centre.