The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered a case under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha.
An Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR), which is a formal FIR by the ED, was registered on the basis of a preliminary enquiry (PE) done by the agency through its sub-zonal office in Shimla. However, the formal case has been lodged in New Delhi to avoid any “interference” by the state government and its agencies, officials said.
When contacted, Singh said, “It’s all political. I am aware the ED has registered a case. There is a senior central minister at the root of it.”
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A senior official of the ED, which comes under the Union Ministry of Finance, said that the ECIR was “more or less” based on the contents of the FIR registered by the CBI on September 23 in New Delhi. The period of the probe, the official said, primarily covers Virbhadra Singh’s term as Union Minister for Steel and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) between 2009 and 2012.
It is alleged that during the period, Singh tried to legitimise assets worth Rs 6.03 crore through single premium LIC policies in his name and names of other family members, beside revising his orchards’ Income Returns of Rs 47.35 crore to Rs 6 crore for three years. Some assets bought during the period will also come under the ED scanner, an official said.