Ranchi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has informed that it has seized cash amounting to Rs 11.88 Crore of Pankaj Mishra, Dahu Yadav and their associates generated from illegal mining in Jharkhand. The ED said that the aforementioned amount was parked in 37 bank accounts of suspects and the same has been seized.
The agency in a press release issued today almost after over two months since it began investigating the MNREGA scam and illegal mining scam in Jharkhand, said that with the present seizure the agency has so far seized Rs 36.58 Crore illegally generated from mining.
The seizure has been made under the Prevention of Money-laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 in the illegal mining case. Earlier, ED had conducted searches at 19 locations in Sahibganj, Barhet, Rajmahal, Mirza Chauki and Barharwa resulting in the seizure of various incriminating documents and Rs 5.34 Crore unaccounted cash on 08.07.2022.
During this search operation, the ED also seized five stone crushers that were being illegally operated from the Site and also five illegal firearm cartridges. The evidence collected during the course of the investigation including statements of various persons, digital evidence and documents revealed that the seized cash/bank balance is derived from illegal mining being rampantly done in the Sahibganj area including the forest area.
A trail of further Rs. 100 Crore of Proceeds of crime generated from illegal mining has also been unearthed and being worked upon. Earlier in the month of May 2022, searches at 36 locations connected with the MNREGA Scam were conducted under PMLA resulting in seizure of Rs 19.76 Crore cash.
The searched premises included the premises of Pooja Singhal, IAS, and her associates. In this case, also, evidence collected during the course of the investigation including those collected during the searches and statements of various persons revealed that the major chunk of the seized cash was derived from illegal mining and was belonging to a senior bureaucrat and politicians.
Pooja Singhal and Suman Kumar, CA 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 etc has been seized by ED.