NEW DELHI (TIP): Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued orders for attachment of assets of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh worth about Rs 8 crore including a flat in a posh locality here, in connection with a money laundering probe case against him and others.
The agency issued a provisional attachment order here, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), seizing a clutch of LIC policies, bank fixed deposits and two storeys of a building in south Delhi’s Greater Kailash-I area.
Official sources said the assets have been considered the “proceeds of crime” of money laundering and were created by using alleged tainted funds.
The agency, the sources said, has also issued prohibitory orders on these assets which are “valued at Rs 7.93 crore.”
An attachment order under PMLA is aimed at depriving the accused from obtaining benefits of their alleged ill-gotten wealth and the accused parties can appeal against the order before the Adjudicating Authority of the said Act within 180 days.
An unfazed Virbhadra Singh dubbed the ED order as a ” Holi gift” and that it was a “dirty political conspiracy of the BJP.”
“It is one more dirty political conspiracy by the BJP. Like the ED raid on the day of my daughter’s marriage, this is a gift on the occasion of Holi”, said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
Insisting that he is a fighter, Virbhadra said that he would continue to fight such politically motivated battles. “I have full faith in the judiciary of the country. Satyamev Jayate”.
Recently, the Delhi High Court had refused to grant any interim stay on money laundering proceedings initiated by the Directorate against the chief minister.
Justice Pratibha Rani had issued a notice to the ED seeking its response before May 31 on Virbhadra’s plea seeking stay on the proceedings and quashing of the money laundering case against him.
ED has filed a case under criminal provisions of money laundering laws after taking cognisance of a complaint filed by CBI in this regard in September last year.
It had also conducted searches in 2015 in the states of Delhi, Maharashtra and West Bengal.
The agency is working to investigate the allegation that Singh and his family members allegedly amassed wealth worth Rs 6.1 crore between 2009-11, disproportionate to his known sources of income, while serving as the Union minister of steel.
The CBI FIR had named Virbhadra Singh, his wife Pratibha Singh, LIC agent Anand Chauhan and Chauhan’s brother CL Chauhan and they were charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act.