MOU forged to cover Virbhadra’s tainted money: ED chargesheet

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New Delhi, Sep 6 (IANS) The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday filed a chargesheet against LIC agent Anand Chauhan in the disproportionate assets case against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, claiming the latter forged an MoU with Chauhan to cover up his “tainted” money.

The chargesheet was filed in the court of Special Judge Vinod Kumar, who fixed September 7 for considering the matter.

The ED chargesheet said Virbhadra made the fake Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) agent for the management of his apple orchard so as to cover up his alleged ill-gotten money.

The ED told the court that further investigation regarding the roles of Virbhadra Singh and his wife was on and the agency may file a supplementary chargesheet later in the case.

Chauhan is accused of investing Virbhadra Singh’s “tainted” money of Rs 5.14 crore in LIC policies purchased in Virbhadra’s name and those of his family members, including wife Pratibha Singh, the ED said in its chargesheet.

Virbhadra Singh had tried to justify his disproportionate assets in the form of agricultural income, the ED said.

To cover up the unaccounted money, Singh faked the MoU dated June 15, 2008, with Chauhan for the management of his Shrikhand apple orchard at Damrali village in Rampur Bushar in Shimla district of Himachal.

The ED said it found that the stamp paper used for the MOU was originally issued in the name of some other person who had made some agreement with UCO Bank’s Kotkhai branch in Shimla.

“As per the said MOU, Chauhan would invest the proceeds received from the sale of apples of Shrikhand orchard in government securities, mutual funds, schemes of LIC or invest the money in the products of scheduled banks for ensuring safe and better returns and in return he would receive two per cent commission on the net sale proceeds after deducting all other expenses spent upon the management of the orchard,” the ED chargesheet said.

As per the sale deed, Chauhan claimed to have sold the apple produce of Shrikhand orchard to Chunni Lal Chauhan of Universal Apples Associates (UAA), Parwanoo.

The ED alleged that its investigation revealed that prior to the check period from May 28, 2009, to June 26, 2012, in 2007 and 2008 also huge cash amounts were deposited into the bank accounts of Chauhan, which was to be utilised for the purchase of LIC policies in the names of Singh and his family members.

During investigation, it was revealed that the apple produce at the Shrikhand orchard was much less than claimed.

The ED had arrested Chauhan on July 8 from Chandigarh under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

His was the first arrest made by the ED in the money laundering case against the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister.

The Income Tax Department began proceedings against Chauhan in 2011.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is also probing the case.

The CBI reportedly found that Virbhadra Singh had accumulated assets worth Rs 6.03 crore in his name and in the name of his family members, which were disproportionate to his known sources of income, during his tenure as the Union Steel Minister from 2009 to 2011.

–IANS

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