18-11-2023 : Former Jammu and Kashmir minister, Lal Singh, arrested on November 7 by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with an alleged money laundering case, has been remanded to 14 days of judicial custody by a special court. The chairman of the Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan Party (DSSP) was produced before Special Judge Bala Jyoti through virtual mode after the expiration of his 12-day ED remand. The court, considering the ongoing investigation and the seriousness of the non-bailable offense, granted the IO’s (Investigation officer) prayer for judicial custody, emphasizing that the accused had hindered the investigation by not cooperating and that statements of other material witnesses were yet to be recorded.
The court directed that Lal Singh be lodged at the district jail in Amphalla, Jammu, and instructed the IO to expedite the investigation. Regular medical checkups for the accused were mandated under rules, and he was informed of his right to engage an advocate for his defense. Lal Singh is scheduled to be produced in court through video conferencing after the expiry of judicial remand on December 1.
Arrested from a house on November 7, Lal Singh is under ED investigation in connection with a case involving an educational trust run by his wife, former legislator Kanta Andotra. The money laundering case originated from a CBI charge sheet filed in October 2021, alleging criminal connivance in land issuance without mentioning details regarding the violation of the ceiling limit imposed under the Jammu and Kashmir Agrarian Reforms Act, 1976. The trust, according to the charge sheet, acquired multiple pieces of land in 2011, resulting in undue pecuniary advantage.
Meanwhile, arguments on the main bail application in the court of principal sessions judge, Jammu, remained inconclusive and are set to resume on Monday. The case dates back to Lal Singh’s induction into the PDP-BJP government in 2015, his subsequent resignation from the BJP in 2019 amid the Kathua rape and murder case controversy, and his past political career, including serving as an MP and holding ministerial positions in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly.