Jammu, Nov 18: Former J-K minister Lal Singh, arrested on November 7 by the Enforcement Directorate in an alleged money laundering case, was sent to judicial custody for two weeks by a special court here.
Singh, the chairman of the Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan Party (DSSP), was produced through the virtual mode before Special Judge Bala Jyoti after the expiry of his 12-day ED remand.
“Since the investigation of the case is ongoing and the accused is involved in a serious and non-bailable offence, besides as per IO (Investigation officer), the accused, herein, tried to derail the investigation by not cooperating…
”Moreover, statements of other material witnesses are yet to be recorded, as such, the prayer of the IO is granted and the accused person is remanded to judicial custody for a period of 14 days w.e.f. (with effect from) 18-11-2023 to 01-12-2023),” the court said.
The court directed that Singh be lodged at the district jail in Amphalla, Jammu and asked the IO to expedite the investigation.
“Accused person shall be subjected to regular medical checkup under rules. He has been apprised of his right to engage an advocate to defend him,” the order said.
Singh will be produced in court through video conferencing after the expiry of judicial remand on December 1.
The court directed the superintendent of the district jail in Amphalla to provide basic amenities to the accused in line with the jail manual.
The former minister was arrested from a house here on November 7 within hours of the special judge dismissing his anticipatory bail application.
He is under investigation by the ED in connection with the case against an educational trust run by his wife and former legislator Kanta Andotra.
In a related development, the arguments on the main bail application in the court of principal sessions judge, Jammu remained inconclusive and will resume on Monday.
Special public prosecutor Ashwani Khajuria filed a detailed objection in the court and sought a direction to the petitioner to present the bail application before the special judge in the interest of justice and fair procedure of law.
The money laundering case stems from an October 2021 charge sheet filed by the CBI in this case which alleged criminal connivance in the issuance of land between January 4 and January 7, 2011, without mentioning details in respect of violation of the ceiling limit of 100 standard kanals imposed under Section 14 of the Jammu and Kashmir Agrarian Reforms Act, 1976, thereby giving undue pecuniary advantage to trust.
Based on this, the trust acquired multiple pieces of land of about 329 kanals vide three gift deeds executed on January 5 and January 7, 2011, the CBI charge sheet claimed.
In 2015, Lal Singh was inducted into the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed-led PDP-BJP government. He quit the BJP in 2019 amid a controversy over the Kathua rape and murder case.
Singh was elected as MP from Udhampur Lok Sabha seat in 2009 and 2004 on Congress ticket. He was elected to the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly in the 1996 and 2002 polls and was then appointed minister for health and medical education in the Sayeed-led Congress-PDP government.–(PTI)