The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has again issued fresh summon to Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh directing him to appear before agency Investigating Officer (IO) on April 20 as the CM skipped presence as he was issued summon for today. Mr. Singh was scheduled to dispose off statement and join investigation however he did not turn up dramatically before the IO. The counsel for Mr. Singh appeared in his absence in the ED office and reportedly took the exemption from today’s personal presence siting a private engagement reason for non-appearance before the agency.
The agency IO accepted Mr. Singh’s plea of seeking today’s exemption however it issued fresh summon or directing the counsel to ensure Mr. Singh’s presence on April 20 for the disposing statement in the case. Pleading Mr. Singh before the ED, the Counsel submitted written reply for his absence from the interrogation stating that he was busy in a religious ceremony on April 12 when he supposed to come to NCR. Instead of heading toward NCR Mr. Singh decided to not appear before the ED yesterday as he took his way toward Bhima Kali shrine near Rampur.
On Thursday the Chief Minister was busy in public meeting in his Assembly segment rural Shimla however he’s shown keenness to give full cooperation to agency to take his statement in the case. ED was seeking his presence in prevention of Money Laundering Act to take his statement and issued summon for presence today. The ED had lodged FIR under the PMLA against Mr Singh after the CBI booked him in September, 2015.
The CBI also filed a charge sheet against Mr Singh claiming that he had amassed assets worth around Rs 10-crore which were disproportionate by 192 per cent of his total income during his tenure as a Union Minister. The final report filed against nine people for alleged offenses punishable under section 109 (abetment) and 465 (punishment for forgery) of IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act, arrayed around 225 witnesses and 442 documents.
Besides the 82-year-old Congress leader and his wife Pratibha Singh, the report also arraigned Chunni Lal Chauhan, Joginder Singh Ghalta, Prem Raj, Vakamulla Chandrasekhar, Lawan Kumar Roach and Ram Prakash Bhatia as accused. LIC agent of Mr. Singh, Mr. Anand Chauhan was lodging in Tihar Jail for indulging in the crime as he was booked by the ED to help Mr. Singh to indulge in money laundering.