Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife, who are facing investigation in a disproportionate assets case, last week approached the Delhi High Court to seek protection from arrest or coercive action by the Enforcement Directorate. Meanwhile, ED has summoned Virbhadra’s wife Pratibha to appear before it in Delhi.
The bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi Tuesday issued notice to ED to respond to the plea, which has said that since ED filed the investigation report on the basis of an FIR registered by CBI, the duo is claiming protection in parity with orders passed in the CBI case.
The plea also states that Virbhadra and his wife “apprehended” that the ED would take action, in light of the recent arrest of LIC agent Anand Chauhan, who was arrested on July 9 after being called to join the investigation in Chandigarh.
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The plea has also claimed that since the “same case” was being investigated by “three different agencies”— ED, CBI and Income tax Department, the CM should get protection in all three.
The case is now likely to be heard on July 29. The ED had last year lodged a money laundering case against Virbhadra and others under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act after taking cognizance of a criminal complaint filed by CBI.
The CBI had lodged a separate disproportionate assets case against Virbhadra and others alleging that he and his family members had amassed wealth amounting to Rs 6.1 crore between 2009 and 2011, disproportionate to his known sources of income.