18.3 C
New York

ED arrests Jharkhand mining secretary Pooja Singhal in money laundering case

Published:

The 2000-batch IAS officer Singhal was “evasive” in her replies and hence was arrested.

Jharkhand mining secretary Pooja Singhal was arrested by the ED on Wednesday after two consecutive days of grilling in a money-laundering probe linked to alleged embezzlement of MGNREGA funds in Khunti and other charges, officials said. The 2000-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer has been taken into ED custody under the relevant sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Sources claimed that Singhal was “evasive” in her replies and hence was arrested. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) will produce her before a local court here seeking her remand. She had arrived at the probe agency’s regional office in the Hinoo area of Ranchi around 10:40 am for the second day of questioning.

Singhal was at the ED office for about nine hours on Tuesday and her statement was recorded. The ED had conducted raids against the bureaucrat, her businessman husband Abhishek Jha and others on May 6 in Jharkhand and a few other locations.

Chartered Accountant Suman Kumar was arrested in this case on May 7. The 2000-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer arrived at the agency’s regional office in Hinoo area around 10:40 AM.

The federal agency had recorded the statement of the officer under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The officer was present for about nine hours at its office on Tuesday.

The statement of her businessman husband Abhishek Jha has also been recorded by the agency. The agency also carried out some fresh raids in Kolkata in connection with the case.

Earlier in the day, the questioning of the couple came after the ED conducted raids against the bureaucrat, her husband, their linked entities and others on May 6 in Jharkhand and a few other locations.

The agency has also seized four SUVs — a Jaguar, a Fortuner and two Honda brand cars — which were in the name of arrested CA Suman Kumar or his linked persons under the anti-money laundering law.

The Enforcement Directorate investigation against Singhal and others pertains to a money-laundering case in which former junior engineer in the Jharkhand government, Ram Binod Prasad Sinha, was arrested by the agency on June 17, 2020 from West Bengal after he was booked by the agency under the PMLA in 2012 after studying the FIRs of the state vigilance bureau against him.

Sinha was booked by the vigilance bureau under criminal sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) pertaining to cheating and corruption for allegedly defrauding public money and investing it in his own name as well as in the name of his family members while working as junior engineer from April 1, 2008 to March 21, 2011.

The said money was earmarked for the execution of government projects under MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) in Khunti district, the agency had earlier said.
Sinha told the ED that “he paid five per cent commission (out of the defrauded funds) to the district administration.” During the period, the ED had alleged, charges of “irregularities” were made against Singhal while she served as the deputy commissioner/district magistrate of Chatra, Khunti and Palamu between 2007 and 2013.

The agency arrested Kumar in this case on May 7 after seizing over Rs 17 crore cash from his premises. He is in ED custody till May 11.

Related articles

Recent articles

spot_img