Jharkhand Minister, Alamgir Alam arrested by ED in money laundering case

Ranchi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday arrested Rural Development Minister Alamgir Alam to probe his role in the multi-crore tender scam in Jharkhand amid the Lok Sabha elections in the State.

A well-placed ED source confirmed the action after the minister, who represents the Pakur assembly seat, bordering Bangladesh, did not cooperate with the agency during interrogation for the last two days. He will be produced in court tomorrow. Alam happens to be one of ‘some influential persons’ on whose behalf his Private Secretary Sanjiv Lal collected commissions to manage tenders.

Alam, also the Congress legislature party leader in the Jharkhand Assembly and parliamentary affairs minister, was summoned today again after his answers to queries of the ED related to the recovery of over Rs 35 crore did not satisfy the agency.

The minister, according to sources, continued to harp on his stand that he had no link with the mountain of cash recovered from the premises of his Private Secretary Sanjiv Lal and his assistant Jehangir Alam.
Sanjiv Lal and Jehangir Alam, who happens to be a relative of his daughter-in-law, are already in the ED custody.

He happens to be the second high-profile leader, after ex-Chief Minister Hemant Soren, who has been arrested by the ED in Jharkhand. Soren was arrested in the land scam. The ED also summoned his Private Secretary Sanjiv Lal’s wife Rita Lal again to question her along with the minister. During interrogation, Sanjiv Lal named bureaucrats and politicians on whose behalf he collected commissions from contractors and engineers.

A couple of days back, the agency had interrogated Rita Lal to ascertain how she acquired a large number of immovable properties in her name.

Sanjiv Lal, according to the ED, collected commission on behalf of ‘some influential persons’ and played a pivotal role in managing the tenders and collection of commission from engineers.

Notably, Alam, a former Speaker of the Jharkhand Assembly, has been at the helm of the rural development department since 2019.

Notably, the latest case of money laundering is linked to the suspended chief engineer Veerendra Kumar Ram, who was arrested on February 23 last year.

Ram, posted in the Water resource department, was on deputation, as chief engineer to Rural Works Department and Rural Development Department (Special Division), Government of Jharkhand. “Veerendra Kumar Ram used to collect commissions in terms of allocation of tender and execution of work and the said commission / fixed share of 1.5% was distributed among his seniors and politicians,” the ED said.

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