ED: Virbhadra family assets built on ‘proceeds of crime’https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/ed-virbhadra-family-assets-built-on-proceeds-of-crime-2759687/

ED: Virbhadra family assets built on ‘proceeds of crime’

The provisional attachment order of ED had attached assets worth more than Rs 15 lakh owned by Aparajita and over Rs 62 lakh by Vikramaditya on March 23.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh during a press conference in Shimla. Express Photo/File by Lalit Kumar
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh during a press conference in Shimla. Express Photo/File by Lalit Kumar

The properties owned by Himachal Pradesh CM Virbhadra Singh’s children had “prima facie” been found to have been “proceeds of crime”, according to an affidavit filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) before the Delhi High Court. Aprajita Kumari and Vikramaditya Singh, the CM’s children, had approached the court earlier this month against an order issued by the ED on March 23 to attach their assets. The provisional attachment order of ED had attached assets worth more than Rs 15 lakh owned by Aparajita and over Rs 62 lakh by Vikramaditya on March 23. The move was part of an ongoing investigation under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), according to the ED.

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The siblings’ petition had claimed that the property could not have been attached since they have never been named in the FIR, or the Enforcement Case Information Report, and that their property had been attached “with no independent or credible reason” to show that the property was “proceeds of crime” under PML Act.

Defending its decision, the ED in its reply informed the court that under provisions of PMLA, an “authorised officer can provisionally attach a property of a person who is not an accused in a scheduled offence as long as the following ingredient is satisfied: he has reason to believe, based on the material in his possession, that a person is in possession of proceeds of crime and, such proceeds, are likely to be concealed, transferred or dealt with in any manner which may result in frustrating proceedings relating to confiscation of proceeds of crime or property is involved in money laundering”.