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3-min read

Enforcement Directorate Arrests Top Aide of Virbhadra Singh in PMLA Case

Special Judge Santosh Snehi Mann sent Vakamulla Chandrasekhar, the director/promoter of Tarini Group of Companies, to custody after he was produced before the court through EDs special public prosecutor N M Matta.

PTI

Updated:February 17, 2018, 8:42 AM IST
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Enforcement Directorate Arrests Top Aide of Virbhadra Singh in PMLA Case
File photo of former Himachal Pradesh CM Virbhadra Singh (Image: Reuters)
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New Delhi: A special court on Saturday sent a businessman, arrested in connection with an around Rs 7 crore money laundering case against former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and others, to one-day judicial custody.

Special Judge Santosh Snehi Mann sent Vakamulla Chandrasekhar, the director/promoter of Tarini Group of Companies, to custody after he was produced before the court through EDs special public prosecutor N M Matta.

The accused, arrested last night under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), was produced before the court and the agency sought his seven-day custodial interrogation.

The EDs remand application was opposed by the accused who questioned the agency's right to arrest and take his custody.

"Judgments are cited by both the sides in support of their respective arguments and I need time to go through those judgments. Pending application of ED, accused is remanded to JC till February 17," the judge said.

The agency had alleged that Chandrasekhar "had provided an amount of Rs 5.9 crore to Singh and his family members through his three personal bank accounts".

It said that when the source of funds was enquired into, it came to light that the amount was received through a web of firms indulging in accommodation entry operation.

The court had on February 12 summoned Singh, his wife, and three others as accused in the case, after taking cognizance of the ED charge sheet against them and others, saying there was "prima facie" enough evidence against the accused persons and directed them to appear before the court on March 22.

The ED had charge-sheeted 83-year-old Singh, accusing him of projecting around Rs 7 crore "proceeds of crime" as agricultural income in connivance with his wife and others and invested them in purchasing LIC policies.

Besides Singh and his 62-year-old wife Pratibha Singh, the court summoned Universal Apple Associate owner Chunni Lal Chauhan and two other co-accused, Prem Raj and Lawan Kumar Roach.

The final report also named as accused Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) agent Anand Chauhan, against whom a charge sheet was earlier filed by the agency.

All six have been charge sheeted under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Chauhan, arrested on July 9, 2016, by the ED under relevant provisions of the PMLA, was granted bail on January 2 in the case.

In the charge sheet against Virbhadra Singh, the ED said, "The proceeds of crime acquired by Virbhadra Singh were projected as agricultural income with the help of Anand Chauhan, LIC agent and Chunni Lal Chauhan and were invested into insurance policies purchased in the name of Singh and his family members and a major part of it, after crisscrossing through various bank accounts found way into acquisition of immovable property."

The "proceeds of crime generated through criminal activities" were managed by Anand Chauhan, who actively assisted him in laundering it by projecting it as untainted, the final report had alleged.

In a separate case filed by the CBI in connection with the matter, Singh, his wife, and Anand Chauhan were charge-sheeted along with others. The couple, who have not been arrested so far, and the other accused are facing trial in the CBI case.

The other accused in the CBI case are Chandrasekhar, Chunni Lal Chauhan, stamp paper vendor Joginder Singh Ghalta and co-accused Lawan Kumar Roach, Prem Raj and Ram Prakash Bhatia.

The CBI had claimed that Virbhadra Singh had amassed assets worth around Rs 10 crore which were disproportionate to his total income during his tenure as Union minister.

The matter was transferred by the Supreme Court to the Delhi High Court which, on April 6, 2016, asked the CBI not to arrest Singh and directed him to join the probe.

| Edited by: Puja Menon
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