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PMLA case against Virbhadra Singh: Court denies bail to LIC agent

New Delhi: A special court on Saturday dismissed the bail plea of an LIC agent, arrested in a money laundering case involving Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and others, saying there were “more than sufficient” material
to show his involvement in the offence.

“The material collected during investigation till date is more than sufficient to reach the conclusion of active involvement of applicant (Anand Chauhan) in the offence of money laundering,” Special Judge Vinod Kumar said.

The judge said, “I am of the opinion that it cannot be said that the material against the applicant (Chauhan) is not substantial enough or that he is only at the periphery of the offence. Accordingly, in view of the stringent provisions of
Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), I am not inclined to grant bail to the applicant.”

Chauhan was arrested from Chandigarh on July 9 under the provisions of PMLA as he was allegedly not cooperating with investigating agency Enforcement Directorate (ED).

In its order, the court also asked the probe agency to follow the practices adopted by other probe agencies like CBI like maintaining of case diaries, arrival-departure registers which could be of immense benefit for the agency.

The ED had opposed the bail plea, saying there were ample evidences against Chauhan and there was serious apprehension that he could tamper with evidence if released on bail.

“The persons against whom the case was filed are still holding very high posts. He should not be granted bail as it will hamper the further course of investigation,” the agency had told the court.

Chauhan had sought bail on the ground that the case against him was documentary in nature and there was no need to keep him in custody. He had further said that he had joined and cooperated in the probe.

While arguing for bail, his counsel had submitted that he was not the “fountainhead” for generating the money. “Neither the money was his (Chauhan), nor he was the beneficiary. He was arrested on July 9 while no other accused has been arrested in the case yet. Isn’t it a dubious way of the probeagency,” the counsel had asked.