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Virbhadra Singh PMLA case: ED arrests businessman

The Enforcement Directorate arrested a businessman in connection with its money laundering probe against Congress leader and former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and others, officials said. They said Vakamulla Chandrasekhar, the director/promoter of Tarini Group of Companies, was arrested from here on late Thursday night by the central probe agency under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). He will be produced before a special court here. The agency earlier said that Chandrasekhar “had provided an amount of Rs 5.9 crore to Singh and his family members through his three personal bank accounts”. When the source of funds was enquired into, the ED said, “it came to light that the said amount was received through a web of firms indulging in accommodation entry operation.” Early this month, a special court in Delhi summoned Singh, his wife Pratibha Singh and three others as accused in the money laundering case.

The Enforcement Directorate had charged 83-year-old Singh, a former Union minister, with projecting around Rs 7-crore “proceeds of crime” as agricultural income in connivance with his wife and others, and investing it in purchasing LIC policies. Besides Singh and his 62-year-old wife, the court summoned Universal Apple Associate owner Chunni Lal Chauhan and others. The ED had also named as accused Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) agent Anand Chauhan in the case. In a separate case filed by the CBI in connection with the matter, Singh, his wife and Anand Chauhan were chargesheeted along with others. The other accused in the CBI case are Chunni Lal Chauhan, stamp paper vendor Joginder Singh Ghalta, V Chandrasekhar, and co-accused Lawan Kumar, Prem Raj and Ram Prakash Bhatia. The CBI had claimed that Virbhadra Singh had amassed assets worth around Rs 10 crore which were disproportionate to his total income during his tenure as Union minister.

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