Will appear before Enforcement Directorate: Himachal CM

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Shimla, April 11 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Tuesday said he will appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) this week for questioning in a money laundering case registered against him.

“I will go to Delhi on April 13 at the notice of the Enforcement Directorate,” the Chief Minister told reporters here.

Without mincing words, he added: “If the Income Tax Department desires, it also can summon me. I am ready to give reply to all its questions regarding my income.”

Virbhadra Singh has been asked to appear before the Enforcement Directorate to get his statement recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The agency had summoned him earlier too but he had then excused himself by referring to his official commitments. It has already questioned his wife Pratibha Singh and son Vikramaditya Singh.

Earlier this week, the ED had attached Virbhadra Singh’s Delhi farmhouse worth Rs 27.29 crore in the case.

The agency’s move came after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a chargesheet against Virbhadra Singh and others last month for allegedly amassing assets worth Rs 6.03 crore.

A court in Delhi on Monday fixed April 24 to consider the CBI chargesheet.

The ED had filed a criminal case under the PMLA against Virbhadra Singh, his wife Pratibha, Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) agent Anand Chauhan, his associate Chunni Lal, Joginder Singh Ghalta, Prem Raj, Lawan Kumar Roach, Vakamullah Chandrashekhara and Ram Prakash Bhatia in 2015 following the CBI’s FIR dated September 23, 2015.

The case was registered after a preliminary inquiry found that Virbhadra Singh, as Union Minister from 2009 to 2012, allegedly accumulated assets worth Rs 6.03 crore, which were disproportionate to his known sources of income.

After his Delhi farmhouse was attached, the Chief Minister accused the central government of harassing him and destablising the state government, alleging that central agencies like the ED and CBI were being misused against political opponents.

Terming the action being taken against him as a “well-planned conspiracy” to destroy his public image in the run-up to the state assembly polls, he said the ED was concealing facts and giving out a “concocted” value of the assets seized by it just to “sensationalise” the matter.

–IANS

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