J’khand CM’s Aide Pankaj Arrested In Illegal Mining Case

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday arrested Pankaj Mishra, a close aide of Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, in an illegal mining case, official sources said.

Mishra was arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.
The move comes days after the agency seized cash amounting to Rs 11.88 crore lying in 37 bank accounts belonging to Mishra in the case. The seized amount belonged to Mishra, one Dahoo Yadav and their associates.

Earlier, ED had conducted searches at 19 locations in Sahibganj, Barhet, Rajmahal, Mirza Chauki and Barharwar in Jharkhand resulting in the seizure of various incriminating documents and Rs 5.34 crore unaccounted cash on July 8.

During this search operation, ED had said, it seized five stone crushers that were being illegally operated from the Site and also five illegal firearm cartridges.

“The evidences collected during the course of investigation including statements of various persons, digital evidences and documents revealed that the seized cash and bank balance is derived from illegal mining being rampantly done in the Sahibganj area including the forest area,” the ED had said.

A trail of further Rs 100 crore of proceeds of crime generated from illegal mining has also been unearthed and being worked upon, said the ED.

Earlier in the month of May, the federal agency said, searches at 36 locations connected with the MNREGA Scam were conducted under PMLA resulting in the seizure of Rs 19.76 crore in cash.

The searched premises included the premises of Pooja Singhal, IAS, and her associates.

In this case, also, the ED said, evidences collected during the course of the investigation, including those gathered after searches and statements of various persons, revealed that the major chunk of the seized cash was derived from illegal mining and was belonging to senior bureaucrats and politicians.

Pooja Singhal and Suman Kumar, a Chartered Accountant, were arrested in this case and are presently in judicial custody. A prosecution complaint has been filed in this case.

Thus, in total, cash and bank balance of Rs 36.58 crore, illegally generated from mining has been seized by the ED in the case. (ANI)

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