Millennium Post

Virbhadra accuses centre of destabilising Himachal government

The ED on Monday attached the Rs 27.29 crore Delhi farmhouse of Singh in a money laundering case.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Tuesday accused the centre government of harassing and destablising the state government, alleging that central agencies like the ED and CBI were being misused against political opponents.

Terming the action being taken against him as a "well-planned conspiracy" to destroy his public image in the run-up to the assembly polls, he said that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) was concealing facts and giving out a "concocted" value of the assets seized by it just to "sensationalise" the matter.

"The Centre had been using its full might to harass and destablise a duly elected government and the ED and the CBI were being misused to probe 'bogus' charges, even though nothing incriminating had been found so far," Singh said in a statement.

Noting one could expect political opponents to distort facts to derive mileage, he said it was a matter of grave concern that a responsible government agency was behaving in such a manner.

The ED on Monday attached the Rs 27.29 crore Delhi farmhouse of Singh in a money laundering case.

The ED's move came after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a chargesheet against the senior Congress leader and others for allegedly amassing assets worth Rs 6.03 crore.

The ED had filed a criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against Virbhadra Singh and others in 2015 following the CBI's FIR dated September 23, 2015, against him, his wife Pratibha, Life Insurance Corporation agent Anand Chauhan and associate Chunni Lal, and other unknown persons.

The case was registered after a preliminary inquiry found that Virbhadra Singh, as a Union Minister from 2009 to 2012, allegedly accumulated assets worth Rs 6.03 crore, which were disproportionate to his known sources of income.

The Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister said that the farmland in question was purchased for only Rs 1.20 crore by the company Ms Mapple, promoted by his son Vikrmaditya.

According to the statement, Virbhadra Singh had given Rs 90 lakh to his son from his personal account through proper banking channels and the remaining amount was paid from his personal accrued funds. "His family took friendly loans amounting to Rs 5.90 crore from V Chandersekhar and the amount had been paid back in full with interest long time back and accounted for tax appropriately," it said, adding that the said property was purchased for Rs 1.20 crore but the ED gave its value at Rs 27 crore.

"It turns out that an officer Ajay Singh, whose wife is a BJP MLA from UP, was assigned the duty of assessing Maple as Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax, New Delhi... instead of assessing the revenue, he made malafide conclusions that the property was worth Rs 27 crore. He was supposed to assess the incomes. Now the ED was using the baseless revenue assessment figure of Rs 27 crore to sensatonalise the matter to malign and defame him (Singh)," the statement said.

Singh said that all this was a matter of record yet he and his family members were being harassed and persecuted using multiple central agencies since 2013, and the "extent to which these agencies were being misused could be judged from the fact that even marriages of daughters and helping son to build a legitimate career was being construed as a criminal offence and draconian laws were being made applicable in matters which were of revenue nature and non-cognizable".

Singh said that he would take appropriate legal remedies to contest all persecution and not only come out clean but also politically victorious as the people of Himachal had full faith in him.
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