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ED Seizes Rs 20 Crore Cash in Raids Linked to Jharkhand Minister’s Aide

The Enforcement Directorate on Monday recovered a huge amount of “unaccounted cash”, estimated to be Rs 20 to 30 crore from the premises of the house help of Sanjiv Lal, personal secretary of Jharkhand Minister Alamgir Alam. The cash haul was part of raids at multiple locations in Ranchi by the probe agency that began this morning.

The cash was being counted to ascertain the exact amount, with counting machines brought in. The amount was largely in the denomination of Rs 500 and some jewellery has also been recovered.

Congress leader Alamgir Alam, 70, is Jharkhand’s Rural Development Minister and represents the Pakur seat in the state assembly.

The raids are in connection with an ongoing investigation into a money laundering case against Virendra K Ram, former chief engineer of the Jharkhand Rural Development Department, who was arrested last year. It is linked to alleged irregularities in the implementation of some schemes in the department.

Virendra K Ram was arrested in February 2023 by the Enforcement Directorate after the probe agency launched multiple searches in Ranchi, Jamshedpur and other places in Jharkhand, along with Bihar and Delhi.

In 2019, a huge amount of cash was recovered from one of Virendra K Ram’s subordinates. Later, the Enforcement Directorate took over the case under the Prevention of Money Laundering (PMLA) Act.

The money laundering case against Virendra K Ram stems from a complaint by the Jharkhand anti-corruption bureau (ACB).

The Enforcement Directorate had alleged in a statement last year that Virendra K Ram had “generated proceeds of crime in the name of commission from contractors in lieu of allotment of tenders to them”.

Meanwhile, the BJP has demanded that Alamgir Alam be taken into custody immediately and “strictly questioned” over the cash haul. Speaking to news agency ANI, Jharkhand BJP spokesperson Pratul Shah Deo said that the latest cash recovery has proven once again that Congress is embroiled in the black money business.

“The endless story of corruption of the Jharkhand government shows no signs of ending. Just a few days ago, Rs 300 crore cash was recovered from the house and office of a Congress MP. More than Rs 10 crore was recovered from the residence of the associates of Pankaj Mishra, a close associate of the (former) Chief Minister (Hemant Soren). Now, from the house of the personal secretary of Minister, Alamgir Alam, more than Rs 25 crore has been recovered. Alamgir Alam should be taken into custody immediately, he should be strictly questioned and the connection to this money should be ascertained by the ED,” he said.

Pratul Shah Deo further said that the Election Commission of India should take into cognisance the recovery of such a massive amount of cash during the ongoing Lok Sabha polls.

In December last year, Income Tax raided the premises linked to Congress Rajya Sabha MP Dheeraj Sahu in Odisha and Jharkhand. Over Rs 300 crore unaccounted cash was seized during the raids, making it the “highest-ever” black money haul by any agency in a single operation, news agency PTI reported.

Meanwhile, Pankaj Mishra, a close aide of jailed and former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, was arrested in 2022 for money laundering in an illegal mining case.

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