New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday sought the response of a businessman on a plea by ED challenging bail granted to him in connection with a multi-crore money laundering case involving former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh.
Justice Anu Malhotra asked the ED’s counsel what was wrong with the trial court’s bail order and what was the evidence against the accused and listed the matter for further hearing on May 31.
Vakamulla Chandrasekhar, the director/promoter of Tarini Group of Companies, was granted bail by a trial court in March 9, noting that no purpose would be served by keeping him in further custody.
During the hearing, advocate Nitesh Rana appearing for ED argued that it was a case of an economic offence which has to be kept at a higher pedestal and the allegation against the accused were of serious nature.
He contended that Chandrasekhar had helped Singh in laundering crores of rupees and said the probe agency’s investigation was still in progress.
Chandrasekhar was arrested on February 15 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and was in judicial custody before getting bail.
The ED had alleged that Chandrasekhar “had provided an amount of Rs 5.9 crore to Singh and his family members through his three personal bank accounts”.
It had claimed that when the source of funds was enquired into, it came to light that the amount was received through a web of firms indulging in accommodation entry operations.
The court had on February 12 summoned Singh, his wife and three others as accused in the case, after taking cognisance of the ED charge sheet against them and others, saying there was “prima facie” enough evidence against the accused persons.
The ED, in its charge sheet, named 83-year-old Singh, accusing him of projecting around Rs 7 crore “proceeds of crime” as agricultural income in connivance with his wife and others and invested them in purchasing LIC policies.
Besides Singh and his 62-year-old wife Pratibha Singh, the court summoned Universal Apple Associate owner Chunni Lal Chauhan and two other co-accused, Prem Raj and Lawan Kumar Roach.
The final report also named as accused Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) agent Anand Chauhan, against whom a charge sheet was earlier filed by the agency.
All six have been named in the charge sheet under relevant provisions of the PMLA.
A disproportionate assets case, lodged by CBI, is also going on against Singh and others.