THE ED have conducted raids at multiple premises, including that of Jharkhand Mining Secretary Pooja Singhal and her family, in connection with a money laundering probe linked to the alleged embezzlement of over Rs 18 crore MGNREGA funds in Khunti district of the State during 2008-11, officials said on Friday.
About Rs 17 crore cash has been recovered from the premises of a Ranchi-based Chartered Accountant, officials said, adding that banknote counters have been brought in by the agency to ascertain the exact amount.
Around Rs 1.8 crore cash has also been recovered from another location in the city, they said.
The searches are being carried out under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) at about 18 premises in Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Delhi, Punjab, and a few other States, they said.
Officials said, the premises of Singhal, an IAS officer and Secretary of the Department of Mines and Geology of Jharkhand Government, in State capital, Ranchi, are also being covered as part of the action.
Singhal is a 2000 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer and was posted as the Deputy Commissioner in Khunti district earlier. A few other locations in Ranchi, including a hospital, were also being raided by ED officials who were provided a security escort by the personnel of the central paramilitary force CRPF.
BJP MP from Jharkhand’s Godda Nishikant Dubey alleged that the raids show that the State Government led by Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren has “left the earlier Madhu Koda government behind when it comes to corruption.” Koda was arrested by the ED in a money laundering case in 2009.
“This shows the level of corruption in the State nothing gets done in the State without money and bribes,” he told PTI. The raids pertain to a money-laundering case in which former junior engineer in Jharkhand Government, Ram Binod Prasad Sinha, was arrested on June 17, 2020 from the North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) after he was booked by it under the PMLA.
The federal agency took cognisance of 16 FIRs and chargesheets filed by the Jharkhand vigilance bureau against Sinha that alleged the accused abused his official position and indulged in embezzlement of Rs 18.06 crore of government funds by way of forgery and misappropriation.