The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday filed a charge sheet in a Delhi court against former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh in a money laundering case.
The charge sheet, filed before Special Judge Santosh Snehi Mann, names six accused, including the former Chief Minister and his wife. The court has kept it for consideration on February 12.
Besides 83-year-old Singh and his 62-year-old wife, the others named are Universal Apple Associate owner Chunni Lal Chauhan, Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) agent Anand Chauhan and two other co-accused, Prem Raj and Lawan Kumar Roach.
All have been charge sheeted under relevant provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). This is the second charge sheet against Anand Chauhan.
The ED had earlier filed a charge sheet against him while it was probing the matter against other accused.
In a status report regarding its ongoing probe, the ED claimed it recently recorded the statements of several witnesses and investigated bank transactions.
The court, which had earlier granted ED time to file its supplementary charge sheet in the case, had directed it to submit a status report after the agency, on January 18, sought one more month to complete the probe.
Mr. Anand Chauhan, arrested on July 9, 2016 by the ED under relevant provisions of the PMLA, was granted bail on January 2 in the money laundering case.
In a separate case filed by the CBI in relation to the matter, Mr. Singh, his wife and Mr. Chauhan were chargesheeted along with others.
The couple, who have not been arrested so far, and the other accused are facing trial in the CBI case. The other accused in the CBI case are Chunni Lal Chauhan, stamp paper vendor Joginder Singh Ghalta, Managing Director of Tarani Infrastructure Vakamulla Chandrasekhar, and co-accused Lawan Kumar Roach, Prem Raj and Ram Prakash Bhatia.
The CBI had claimed that Mr. Singh had amassed assets worth around ₹10 crore which were disproportionate to his total income during his tenure as a Union minister.
The matter was transferred by the Supreme Court to the Delhi High Court which, on April 6, 2016, asked the CBI not to arrest Mr. Singh and directed him to join the probe.
On November 5 last year, the apex court transferred Mr. Singh’s plea from the Himachal Pradesh High Court to the Delhi High Court, saying it was not expressing any opinion on the merits of the case, but “simply” transferring the petition “in the interest of justice and to save the institution (judiciary) from any embarrassment”.
The ED had filed a separate case based on the CBI FIR.