DA case: Himachal CM Virbhadra Singh exempted from personal appearance

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Tuesday was granted exemption from personal appearance for the day by a Delhi court in connection with a ₹10 crore disproportionate assets case against him.

Special Judge Virender Kumar Goyal also granted the relief to Mr. Singh’s wife Pratibha Singh, a co-accused in the case.

The CBI, meanwhile, opposed Mr. Singh’s application seeking permanent exemption from personal appearance, saying there was no such provision in law.

The court has now posted the matter for argument on November 30.

During the proceedings, the CBI informed the court that it has handed over certain documents, filed along with the charge sheet, to the Singhs and other accused persons as per its earlier direction.

The couple, who have not been arrested so far, and other accused persons — Universal Apple Associate owner Chunni Lal Chauhan, stamp paper vendor Joginder Singh Ghalta, Managing Director of Tarani Infrastructure Vakamulla Chandrasekhar, and co-accused Lawan Kumar Roach, Prem Raj and Ram Prakash Bhatia — are facing trial in the case.

The charge sheet also names as accused LIC agent Anand Chauhan, who was arrested in a separate money laundering case filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in relation to the present matter and is currently in judicial custody.

The court had granted them bail on May 29 after they appeared before it in pursuance to summons issued against them by the court.

The court had on May 8 summoned them after taking cognisance of the charge sheet filed by the CBI.

The CBI charge sheet, running up to over 500 pages having statements of around 225 witnesses and containing 442 documents, has claimed that Mr. Singh had amassed assets worth around ₹10 crore which were disproportionate to his total income during his tenure as a Union minister.

Mr. Chauhan was arrested by the ED on July 9 last year in a separate money laundering case related to the disproportionate assets case.

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

On November 5 last year, the apex court had transferred Mr. Singh’s plea from the Himachal Pradesh High Court to the Delhi High Court, saying it was not expressing any opinion on the merits of the case, but “simply” transferring the petition “in the interest of justice and to save the institution (judiciary) from any embarrassment.”

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Printable version | Apr 13, 2021 6:12:43 PM |

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