Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh today met Congress president Sonia Gandhi at her residence here today. The meeting comes a day after Singh was questioned for over nine hours by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a money laundering case registered against him. Though the Chief Minister's office termed the visit as a "courtesy call", sources said he briefed Gandhi on his questioning by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) yesterday. Singh is also learnt to have briefed the Congress president on the poll preparedness of the party in the hilly state, which goes to polls later this year along with Gujarat. The Congress leader also apprised Gandhi of the public welfare measures and pro-poor initiatives by the party government in the state. Official sources said the Investigating Officer (IO) of the case in ED recorded the Chief Minister's statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The CM spent around nine hours in the ED office. The IO is also understood to have confronted him with some documents the agency had seized in the case of alleged disproportionate assets. The sources said dozens of questions were put to Singh and he was likely to be summoned again. The agency is probing allegations against Singh and his family members of amassing wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income between 2009 and 2011, when he was the Union Minister for Steel. It has also attached assets worth about Rs 14 crore in the case. The CBI chargesheet alleged that Singh had amassed assets worth around Rs 10 crore which were disproportionate by 192 per cent of his total income during his tenure as the Union minister. The final report was filed against nine persons for alleged offences punishable under section 109 (abetment) and 465 (punishment for forgery) of the IPC and relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, arrayed around 225 witnesses and 442 documents. Besides the 82-year-old Congress leader and his wife Pratibha Singh, the report also mentioned Chunni Lal Chauhan, Joginder Singh Ghalta, Prem Raj, Vakamulla Chandrasekhar, Lawan Kumar Roach and Ram Prakash Bhatia as accused.