New Delhi: The Patiala House Court on Monday ordered former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh to appear before it on January 22 in the disproportionate assets case against him. That is also the next date of hearing, reported ANI.
In December, the court had ordered framing of charges against Singh for alleged criminal misconduct and amassing disproportionate assets of over Rs 10 crore. It said Singh intended to cause loss to the tax authorities by presenting unaccounted money as sale proceeds of apples.
Special CBI Judge Arun Bhardwaj said that prima facie, charges of alleged forgery and attempt to cheat under the IPC were also made out against the 82-year-old Congress leader and former Union minister.
The court also ordered framing of charges against Singh’s wife, Pratibha Singh, and seven others for allegedly abetting. The other accused are LIC agent Anand Chauhan, Chunni Lal Chauhan, Joginder Singh Ghalta, Prem Raj, Vakamulla Chandrasekhar, Lawan Kumar Roach and Ram Prakash Bhatia.
The court said that Singh and Chauhan “fraudulently and dishonestly” signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) by ante-dating it to give an impression that it was signed on June 15, 2008. “They knew that MoU was not made, signed or executed by them on June 15, 2008. They prepared and signed this MoU with the intention of causing it to be believed that this MoU was made by them on June 15, 2008.”
The punishment for the offences of criminal misconduct and disproportionate assets range between one and seven years jail term, forgery under IPC entails a maximum of two years imprisonment and the offence of cheating could lead to a maximum sentence of seven years.
On the role of his wife, the court said there was “grave suspicion” that she committed the offence of abetment under the IPC. The CBI had registered the case against Singh and others for allegedly amassing assets worth around Rs 10 crore disproportionate to their known source of income when he was the Union Minister in the UPA government.