Spelling trouble for former Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh, the Allahabad High Court on Friday directed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to probe charges of money laundering against him in connection with awarding government contracts worth thousands of crores while he was chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Development Council (UPDC) during 2003-07.
Singh had allegedly misused his official position and awarded government contracts to companies owned and controlled by him and also received kick-backs.
A division bench of Justice Imtiyaz Murtaza and Justice SS Tiwari dismissed Singh’s petition seeking quashing of an FIR registered by the police on a complaint by one Shiv Kant Tripathi in Kanpur. Tripathi had alleged that Singh committed a fraud of several crores during his tenure as UPDC chief when the Samajwadi Party was in power. The court also dismissed Singh’s plea for a stay on his arrest.
Reacting to the court order, Singh said in New Delhi that he himself had written to Union Finance Ministry demanding that the allegations be probed by the ED. "I am not above the law. I should be punished if I am found guilty," he said.
Directing the state police to hand over all papers in connection with the case to the ED in two weeks, the court asked the ED to submit the first status report within a month. It fixed the first week of July for further hearing.
“Money laundering poses a serious threat to the integrity of a financial system. The matter needs a thorough probe by the special cell, as it has national ramifications,” the bench said.
Terming the allegations as absurd and politically motivated, Singh had contended that the case was a fallout of his political rivalry with the UP chief minister Mayawati.
2003: UPDC formed by Mulayam Singh government in Uttar Pradesh with Amar Singh as its chairman
2007: Amar Singh resigned from the chairmanship following defeat of Samajwadi Party in state assembly elections.
2009: FIR alleging that Amar Singh committed fraud in awarding UPDC contracts and laundered money, lodged in Kanpur
2011: Court directs ED to probe charges and refuses to grant stay on Amar Singh’s arrest
(With inputs from agencies)