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ED arrests J’khand mining secy and IAS officer Pooja Singhal in money laundering case

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date

Ranchi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday, May 11, arrested Jharkhand IAS office Pooja Singhal in an alleged money laundering case. The Jharkhand mining secretary had appeared before the agency earlier in the day in Ranchi for questioning in connection with the money laundering case linked to embezzlement of MGNREGA funds and other charges, reported news agency.

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The 2000-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer arrived at the agency’s regional office in Hinoo area around 10:40 am, news agency reported. The probe agency had earlier also questioned her businessman husband Abhishek Jha.

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The questioning of the couple comes after the ED conducted raids against the bureaucrat, her husband, their linked entities and a chartered accountant Suman Kumar on May 6 in Jharkhand and a few other locations.

Cash of around Rs 19 crore was recovered during the raids by the ED. 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.

WHAT IS THE CASE?

The Enforcement Directorate’s investigation against Pooja 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 Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 in 2012.

Ram Binod Prasad Sinha was accused of defrauding public money and investing it in his own name as well as in the name of his family members between April 1, 2008 and March 21, 2011.

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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.

The accused told the ED that “he paid five per cent commission (out of the defrauded funds) to the district administration.”

During the period, the ED alleged, charges of “irregularities” were made against Pooja Singhal while she served as the deputy commissioner/district magistrate of Chatra, Khunti and Palamu between 2007 and 2013.

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