ED files money-laundering case against Himachal CM

New Delhi, Nov 15 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Sunday landed in fresh trouble, with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) registering a money-laundering case against him.

Virbhadra Singh was booked by the agency on charges under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act after taking cognizance of a criminal case registered against him by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in September.

Sources said ED investigators were likely to question Virbhadra Singh and his associates within a couple days.

The investigation by the ED will be to find out how Virbhadra Singh and his family members allegedly amassed wealth amounting to Rs.6.1 crore between 2009 and 2011, disproportionate to his known sources of income, while serving as the union steel minister.

The CBI has already filed a first information report (FIR) against Virbhadra Singh, his wife Pratibha Singh, insurance agent Anand Chauhan and Chauhan’s brother C.L. Chauhan under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The CBI suspects that during 2009-11, Virbhadra Singh allegedly invested Rs.6.1 crore in life insurance policies in his and his family members’ names through agent Chauhan, claiming the money to be his agricultural income.

The probe agency alleged that Virbhadra Singh attempted to legitimise the same as agricultural income by filing revised income tax returns in 2012.

“The agricultural income as claimed by him in his revised ITRs was not found to be tenable. The then union minister had allegedly accumulated other assets disproportionate to known sources of income,” the CBI had alleged.

The CBI had also carried out searches at various premises belonging to Virbhadra Singh and his family immediately after filing the FIR.

Sources said the ED office in state capital Shimla will handle the case with assistance from the agency headquarters in Delhi.

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