Delhi News

Over a crore in cash deposited in Jharkhand IAS officer’s account, says ED

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Sunday said that IAS Pooja Singhal and her husband received cash deposits totaling Rs 1.43 crore when she was charged with irregularities while serving as District Magistrate (DM) in various districts across the state.

The federal agency (ED) also informed a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Ranchi that the IAS officer allegedly transferred Rs 16.57 lakh from her personal account to those controlled or owned by her Chartered Accountant (CA), Suman Kumar.

Suman Kumar was arrested on Saturday for alleged money laundering in connection with an MGNREGA money fraud case.

The Enforcement Directorate arrested Kumar in Ranchi on May 6 after conducting multi-city raids against him, Pooja Singhal, her businessman husband, Abhishek Jha, and others. The special court then sent Kumar to ED custody till May 11.

The ED said it seized over Rs 17.79 crore in cash from the chartered accountant’s home and office.

According to the agency, the total cash seized following these raids is Rs 19.31 crore, with a further seizure made from another location in Ranchi.

Seeking Kumar’s custody, the agency stated in its remand note that the CA was “withholding” information about the source of the cash seized from his home and was not disclosing the “actual owner” of the cash.

The agency alleged in the court document that Singhal, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 2000 batch, used funds that were deposited in “cash” in her bank accounts while she served as DC of three districts during 2007-2013, to purchase life insurance policies.

READ | ED searches in 5 states in case of corruption, misappropriation of MGNREGA fund


The ED investigation is related to a money laundering case in which Ram Binod Prasad Sinha, a former junior engineer in the Jharkhand government, was arrested on June 17, 2020 in West Bengal after he was booked under the PMLA in 2012 after the agency studied the FIRs of the state vigilance bureau against him.

Sinha was charged by the vigilance bureau under criminal sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) pertaining to cheating and corruption for allegedly defrauding public money and investing it in his own name and the names of his family members while working as a junior engineer from April 1, 2008 to March 21, 2011.

The said money was earmarked for the execution of government projects under MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) in Khunti district, the agency had earlier said.

Sinha told the ED that “he paid a five per cent commission [out of the defrauded funds] to the district administration.”

During the period, the ED said in the latest note, various charges of “irregularities” were made against Singhal while she served as the deputy commissioner/district magistrate of Chatra, Khunti and Palamu between 2007-2013.

“Hence, the account statements of Pooja Singhal were called from various banks and financial institutions. The accounts of Pooja Singhal and Abhishek Jha, husband of Pooja Singhal, is having huge cash deposits to the tune of Rs 1.43 crore during the same crime period,” the ED alleged.

She was the District Magistrate of Khunti between February 16, 2009 and July 19, 2010, the alleged crime period for which Sinha is being investigated.

It added that the funds deposited in different fiscal years were “over and above” Singhal’s salary.

READ | Who is IAS Pooja Singhal being probed by ED in Jharkhand money laundering case

According to the ED, the IAS officer purchased 13 policies and paid a premium of Rs 80.81 lakh between the 2005-06 and 2012-13 fiscal years, and then “closed them [policies] prematurely and received a closure amount of Rs 84.64 lakh.”

The agency stated that Singhal “transferred” Rs 3.96 lakh from her account to Kumar’s in 2015.

Another amount of over Rs 6.39 lakh from the said closure funds was transferred in 2016 to the account of Santosh Crusher Metal Works, a partnership firm incorporated by Kumar and in which the CA’s father is a partner.

The agency said a third amount of Rs 6.22 lakh was transferred by her in 2017 to a company called Radhey Shyam Explosives Pvt. Ltd.

“All three accounts were related to Suman Kumar. The total amount transferred from her [Singhal’s] personal account to these accounts is Rs 16.57 lakh,” the ED told the court.

The agency is expected to summon the bureaucrat soon to record her further statements in the case.

The agency is also investigating the business transactions and other financial transactions of a multi-specialty hospital in Ranchi which is allegedly managed by Singhal’s husband.

ED officials previously stated that during the raids, they seized a number of “incriminating documents that indicate political and higher bureaucracy links with alleged illegal mining activities in the state.”

(With PTI Input)

READ | J’khand: ED takes IAS Pooja Singhal’s CA on remand for 5 days in money laundering case

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