Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh today accused the Enforcement Directorate of “concealing” facts and giving out a “concocted” value of the assets seized by the agency in connection with its money laundering probe against him and others. “While one expected political opponents to distort facts to derive political mileage, it is a matter of grave concern that a responsible government agency is behaving in such a manner and spreading a canard against me,” he claimed in a statement.
Singh’s reaction came in the wake of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) attaching a farmhouse here having a market value of Rs 27 crore.
According to the agency, the farmhouse is owned by a firm wherein the Chief Minister’s son and daughter are directors.
The agency alleged the property in the upmarket south Delhi area of Dera Mandi near Mehrauli was purchased “out of laundered money through shell firms”.
It indicated that the funds were paid as quid pro quo by the director of a Delhi-based firm for establishing a hydro power plant in Himachal Pradesh’s Chamba district.
Singh said that the Centre had been using its full might to harass and destablise a duly elected government in Himachal Pradesh and “the ED and CBI were being misused to probe bogus charges against him, even though nothing incriminating had been found so far.”
He also accused the Deputy Director of Income Tax, Faridabad for creating “baseless and fictitious survey reports and dossiers under instructions from the IT department, Chandigarh.”
“The farmland in question was purchased for only Rs 1.20 crore by the company Ms Mapple, promoted by my son Vikrmaditya,” the Congress leader said, adding that he gave Rs 90 lakh to his son from his personal account through proper banking channels, and the remaining amount was paid from his personal accrued money.
“My family took friendly loans amounting to Rs 5.90 crore from V Chandersekhar and the amount had been paid back in full with interest long time back and accounted for tax appropriately. It is on record that the said property was purchased for Rs 1.20 crore, but the ED gave its value at Rs 27 crore,” the statement said.
The Chief Minister also alleged that an officer, whose wife is a BJP MLA from Uttar Pradesh, was assigned the duty of assessing Maple as Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax, New Delhi. He said that the officer instead of assessing the revenue, made “malafide conclusions that the property was worth Rs 27 crore.”
“Now the ED was using the baseless revenue assessment figure of Rs 27 crore to sensatonalise the matter to malign and defame him,” he further alleged.
“All this was a matter of record yet my family members have been harassed and persecuted using multiple central agencies since 2013,” he said.
Singh added that he would take appropriate legal remedies to contest all charges and not only come out clean but also politically victorious.
The Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections are scheduled later this year.