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Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh today approached Delhi High Court seeking a direction to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) not to take any coercive step against him in the wake of the arrest of an LIC agent in an alleged money laundering case.

The plea came up for hearing before Justice A K Pathak who recused from hearing the matter and listed it for July 19 before another bench.

In his plea, Singh said he apprehended that the ED might arrest him on the basis of alleged disclosure statement of insurance agent Anand Chauhan, who was recently arrested from Chandigarh in connection with the case.

Chauhan, currently in judicial custody, was arrested by the ED under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) as he was allegedly not cooperating with the investigating officer of the case.

The probe agency had alleged that Singh, while serving as Union Steel Minister, had invested huge amounts in purchasing LIC policies in his and his family members’ names through Chauhan.

Singh’s separate plea seeking quashing of the money laundering proceedings was also pending before the high court and would come up for further hearing on July 29.

ED had earlier termed as “premature” the plea filed by Singh and others seeking quashing of the money laundering proceedings.

It had said the plea seeking stay on the proceedings was “not maintainable” as the inquiry into the matter was in a preliminary stage.

ED had last year lodged a money laundering case against Singh and others under the PMLA after taking cognisance of a criminal complaint filed by CBI in this regard.

CBI had lodged a separate disproportionate assets case against Singh and others alleging that he and his family members had amassed wealth of Rs 6.1 crore between 2009 and 2011 disproportionate to the known sources of income.

Earlier, CBI had moved Delhi High Court seeking vacation of the Himachal Pradesh High Court’s interim order restraining it from arresting, interrogating or filing a charge sheet against Virbhadra. The Supreme Court had earlier transferred the matter to the Delhi High Court.

(Source : PTI)

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