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Money laundering case: ED questions Virbhadra Singh’s wife

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday questioned Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh’s wife Pratibha in connection with an alleged money laundering case.

india Updated: Aug 09, 2016 18:07 IST
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The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday questioned Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh’s wife Pratibha in connection with an alleged money laundering case.(Santosh Rawat/ HT File Photo)

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday questioned Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh’s wife Pratibha in connection with an alleged money laundering case.

The agency had earlier issued summons to her to appear before the investigating officer of the case.

Official sources said the officer will record her statement under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

She had twice sought exemption from appearing before the agency citing personal reasons even as she moved the Delhi high court seeking protection from arrest by the agency till next hearing of the said case on August 24.

The ED had on Monday told the HC that it has no intention as of now to arrest Pratibha.

Sources had earlier said the questioning of the CM’s wife was “essential” to thoroughly probe the case after some revelations in this regard were made by LIC agent Anand Chauhan, who was arrested by the agency last month in the case.

The agency has also attached assets worth about Rs 8 crore of the chief minister earlier this year. Singh has denied allegations of any wrongdoing by him and his family.

The ED had filed a case under criminal provisions of money laundering laws after taking cognisance of a complaint filed by the CBI in this regard in September last year.

It had also conducted searches in this case last year in Delhi, Maharashtra and West Bengal.

The agency is probing allegations against Singh and his family members of having amassed wealth of Rs 6.1 crore between 2009-11, disproportionate to his known sources of income, while serving as the Union minister of steel.

The CBI FIR (First Information Report) had named Singh, Pratibha, Chauhan and his brother CL Chauhan, and they were charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

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

It alleged that Singh attempted to legitimise the same as It alleged that Singh attempted to legitimise the same as agricultural income by filing revised income tax returns in 2012.

The agency had earlier told the court that Singh, while serving as Union Minister, invested a huge amount in purchasing LIC policies in his own name and his family members through Chauhan.

“Further, Virbhadra Singh, while functioning as Union minister, Government of India during the period from May 28, 2009, to June 26, 2012, acquired assets, disproportionate to his known sources of income to the tune of Rs 6,03,70,782 and further tried to justify the same in the form of agricultural income.

“Pratibha Singh, the wife of Virbhadra Singh, Chauhan, with whom Virbhadra Singh has signed the alleged MoU for managing his apple orchard and Chunni Lal Chauhan, proprietor of M/s Universal Apple Associates, who purportedly showed purchase of apple of Shrikhand Orchard, have facilitated in justifying the disproportionate assets of Virbhadra Singh and thereby abetted the offence,” the ED had alleged.