The Enforcement Directorate on Friday carried out raids at 18 locations in four states—Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, and Punjab. The raid also took place at the premises, which are linked to Jharkhand Mining Secretary Pooja Singhal, amidst its probe into a case of corruption at a high level and misuse of the (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) fund.
According to the ED, raids were conducted in several places in Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, and Punjab and unearthed various documents regarding assets and properties allegedly linked to Singhal. ED sources said, including a multi-specialty hospital in Ranchi.
The agency has succeeded in catching corrupt officials who amassed a huge sum of money. It has already recovered Rs 18 crore in cash from the house of a Ranchi-based chartered accountant who is said to be very close to IAS officer Singhal.
“Incriminating documents have also been seized from the residence of an IAS officer during searches,” added an ED officer.
According to sources, three note-counting machines were used to count the cash recovered on Friday. Huge bundles of Rs 2000, Rs 500, Rs 200, and Rs 100 notes were recovered.
Earlier, the ED had been able to arrest Ram Binod Prasad Sinha, the then section officer and junior engineer of Kunti, Jharkhand. The ED came into action because 16 FIRs were registered against the corrupt official by the Jharkhand Vigilance Bureau.
Ram Sinha was accused of misappropriating Rs 18 crore between 2008 and 2011 of MGNREGA funds. Later, the ED filed a Prosecution Complaint (chargesheet) against him. He invested money in his name and those of his family members while he was working in the state government.
Chief Minister Hemant Soren dismissed the raids as “empty threats”. “When they (BJP) can’t counter you on the political battlefield, then they use their machinery,” he said.
Singhal, a 2000 batch IAS officer
A 2000-batch Jharkhand-cadre IAS officer, Singhal has got several key postings during her tenure. She worked as agriculture secretary in the previous BJP government. Pooja Singhal is currently the mining and geology secretary in the Jharkhand government. Her husband, Abhishek Jha, has been running a plush hospital and currently working as a managing director of Pulse Sanjeevani Healthcare Private Hospital.