ED attaches Virbhadra farmhouse in Delhi

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh  

It filed a criminal case under PMLA against the Chief Minister in 2015

The Enforcement Directorate on Monday attached a farmhouse, currently worth ₹27.29 crore, in connection with a disproportionate assets case against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh.

The property here was bought allegedly by routing funds through shell companies. This is the second attachment of assets in the money laundering case.

The move comes days after the Central Bureau of Investigation filed a charge sheet against Mr. Singh, along with his wife Pratibha and seven other accused persons, charging them with amassing assets worth ₹10.3 crore between May 2009 and June 2012, when he was the Union Steel Minister. Based on the CBI case, the ED launched a probe and attached property worth ₹7.93 crore in March last year. “Illicit money of Mr. Singh was also invested in a farmhouse at Delhi’s Chhattarpur in the name of Maple Destinations and Dreambuild Pvt. Ltd.,” said an official.

The official said Mr. Singh’s son and daughter, Vikramaditya Singh [major shareholder] and Aparajita Singh [minor shareholder] are directors in the company. The farmhouse was purchased for ₹1.2 crore as per the registry value. “The said payment was made by two cheques for ₹15 lakh each and two cheques for ₹45 lakh each. A sum of ₹5.41 crore was allegedly paid in cash,” he added.

The ED charged that the funds were provided by accused Vakamulla Chandrashekar, the promoter-director of Tarini Group that is engaged in hydropower projects.

“Incidentally, his company was awarded the Saikothi plant in Chamba, Himachal Pradesh. The cheque amount for the farmhouse was given from his personal accounts in three banks,” alleged the agency.

The Directorate claimed to have found that Mr. Chandrashekar gave a total of ₹5.9 crore to Mr. Singh and his family members. The funds were routed through four shell companies, opened in the name of his employees, and one Gursharan Singh. The addresses of these firms were found to be fake.

“Even a bank account was opened in the name of Gursharan Singh on forged papers and was used to provide accommodation entry to Mr. Chandrashekar,” the official said, alleging that another firm, Jai Bharat Foods, was used for showing “fake” agricultural income against forged bills.

The entries were facilitated allegedly by Vineet Mishra, then an HDFC Bank manager at Delhi’s Mansarover Garden.

In Shimla, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) demanded the immediate resignation of Mr. Virbhadra Singh. Himachal Pradesh party secretary Onkar Shad on Monday said that the Delhi High Court verdict last week showed that Mr. Virbhadra Singh was prima facie involved in money laundering and had amassed assets disproportionate to his known sources of income when he was holding the important post of a Cabinet Minister at the Centre.

(With inputs from Kanwar Yogendra)

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 8:49:01 AM |

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