The Enforcement Directorate has summoned Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren’s press consultant Abhishek Prasad on August 1 for questioning in a money laundering test connected to a supposed illegal mining scam in Jharkhand, authorities said on Tuesday. The ED, on July 19, had captured a political helper of Chief Minister Soren, Pankaj Mishra, for this situation. Now he is in the custody.
Authorities said Abhishek Prasad aka Pintu has been summoned on August 1 at the ED office here for questioning regarding the money-laundering case connected to illegal mining in Sahibganj and different areas in the Santhal Paraganas division.
The ED probe against Mr. Mishra and his supposed partners was sent off on July 8 after the government test organization raided at least 19 areas in Sahibganj, Barhet, Rajmahal, Mirza Chauki and Barharwa in Jharkhand for the situation connected to supposed irregularities in the activity of toll plaza tenders and instances of illegal mining in the state.
The searches were sent off after the ED documented a PMLA case in March against Mr. Mishra and others claiming he “illegally snatched/amassed colossal resources in support of himself.” After the raids, the ED had frozen deposits of ₹ 11.88 crores lying in 37 ledgers having a place with Mr. Mishra and Dahoo Yadav, an individual connected to him.
Aside from this, “unaccounted” cash adding up to ₹ 5.34 crore was likewise seized by the agency, which asserted that the money was connected to “illegal mining” in Jharkhand. Five stone crushers that were being “illegally” worked and an equivalent number of “illegal gun cartridges” were additionally seized by the ED.
“The evidence collected during the investigation, including the 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,” the ED had said. The organization said it was probing a trail of ₹ 100 crores of “proceeds of crime” created from illegal mining operations in the state.
It had recently stated that money adding up to more than ₹ 36 crores, connected to “illegal mining” in Jharkhand, was seized by its teams over the last over two months as a feature of two separate money-laundering investigations.
The second occasion where money connected to supposed illegal mining in the state was uncovered relates to the ED activity against suspended Indian Administrative Service (IAS) official Pooja Singhal in May.
Aside from IAS Pooja Singhal, her businessman husband, a CA connected to the couple and others were raided by the ED as a feature of a money laundering probe connected to an instance of alleged corruption in the MGNREGA scheme.
Ms. Singhal, who was holding the charge of Jharkhand mining secretary, was suspended by the state government following her arrest by the ED. And her husband Suman Kumar, was likewise arrested by the ED and cash adding up to ₹ 19.76 crores was seized by it.
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