A Delhi court on Tuesday granted bail to Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) agent Anand Chauhan, who was charge-sheeted in a money laundering case allegedly involving former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh. Special Judge Santosh Snehi Mann granted the relief to Chauhan, who was arrested on July 9, 2016 by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and two sureties of same amount.
The ED had earlier opposed the bail plea, saying charges against Chauhan were grave and the investigation into the case was at a crucial stage. It said if granted the relief, Chauhan could tamper with evidence and flee from justice. Special public prosecutor N K Matta, appearing for the ED, earlier said the probe into the case was going on and the agency was likely to file a supplementary charge sheet in a month. The accused alleged that the agency was probing “luxuriously” against the other accused while he had been in custody for months.
Chauhan claimed in his application moved through advocate Tarannum Cheema that he was not required for the purpose of investigation and has already spent over a year in prison since his arrest in July 2016. The accused was earlier denied similar relief by the court and later by the Delhi High Court. Chauhan was arrested from Chandigarh under the provisions of the PMLA as he was allegedly not cooperating with the investigating officer.
The ED had alleged that during Chauhan’s interrogation, it was found that as an LIC agent he had entered into a modus operandi to launder disproportionate assets by investing in LIC policies. The agency had alleged that Virbhadra Singh “while serving as a Union minister, invested huge amounts in purchasing LIC policies in his own name and that of his family members through Chauhan”. Singh is not named as an accused by the ED in the present money laundering case. Chauhan is also charge-sheeted, along with 82-year-old Singh, his wife and others, in a separate case filed by the CBI in the matter.
Singh and all the other accused have denied the allegations made against them by the CBI and the