The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned Pratibha Singh, wife of Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh, for next week in connection with a case of alleged money laundering against him.
The move comes in the backdrop of the Congress veteran’s plea before the Delhi high court, saying that he apprehends the ED will arrest him on the basis of an alleged disclosure statement of insurance agent Anand Chauhan, who was recently arrested from Chandigarh in connection with the case.
The agency has filed a case under criminal provisions of money laundering laws after taking cognisance of a complaint filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in September last year. Virbhadra and his family members allegedly amassed wealth of Rs 6.1 crore in 2009-11, disproportionate to his known sources of income, when he was the Union minister for steel. The CBI FIR (first information report) had named Virbhadra, Pratibha, and Anand Chauhan and his brother CL Chauhan, charging them under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The CBI suspects that during 2009-11 Virbhadra invested Rs 6.1 crore in life insurance policies in his and his family members’ names through Chauhan, claiming this money to be his agricultural income. It also alleged that he attempted to legitimise the money as agricultural income by filing revised income-tax returns in 2012.
The ED It attached to the case the Congress veteran’s assets worth about Rs 8 crore earlier this year. It also conducted searches in this case last year in Delhi, Maharashtra and West Bengal.