The income-tax (I-T) assessment order on Anand Chauhan — Virbhadra Singh’s aide who deposited Rs 1.3 crore towards an LIC policy for the Himachal Pradesh chief minister — has said the source of the money is “unexplained”, and that Singh is the “beneficiary of the cash deposits in the account of the assessee” (Chauhan).
The I-T order could bring fresh trouble for Singh, against whom inquiries by the CBI and Enforcement Directorate are pending. According to sources, the CBI case has not progressed yet, and, in the absence of an FIR against Singh, the ED too has been unable to proceed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. A registration of predicate offence is essential for a money laundering investigation.
Earlier this year, the BJP and Aam Aadmi Party had accused Singh of money laundering through LIC policies. The CM had then said that he had a lease agreement with Chauhan for his apple orchard, and that Chauhan had put the proceeds of the sale of the produce in his LIC account.
The I-T assessment order dated March 25, 2014, which The Sunday Express has accessed, said, “Further by the all possible exercises and enquiries, I conclude that most reasonably the orchard would have produced apple yield of 191.604 MT (as per working of Horticulture Department) which otherwise also seems reasonable looking into comparable cases, and the regular low production from the same orchards in the past years.
“In these circumstances the sources of Rs 1 crore deposited by the assessee in the PNB (Punjab National Bank), Sanjauli between 01.05.2010 to 28.05.2010 remained unexplained.”
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The order added, “Virbhadra Singh (Hindu United Family) has also accepted the fact of amount invested in LIC polices. Hence Virbhadra Singh is the ultimate beneficiary of the cash deposits in the account of the assessee.” Reached for a comment, Singh said, “I have explained everything to the I-T department, and my returns are absolutely transparent. I have explained everything to the I-T people. There is nothing more to add to it. Still, I am being targeted even as I have done no wrong.
“It is clear vendetta and nothing else — sometimes it is an I-T issue, and at some other time it is the so-called VBS files. What do I have to do with it, you tell me? But I am not afraid of anything, because I have done no wrong.”
Anand Chauhan declined to comment, saying, “I am out of Shimla. I cannot say anything on the issue. I will be in a position to explain things to you after I am back in town. Please excuse me.”
On Wednesday, Himachal Pradesh High Court had stayed the order of the income tax commissioner to transfer the case from Shimla to Chandigarh.