The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has seized cash amounting to Rs 11.88 crore lying in 37 different bank accounts belonging to Pankaj Mishra, a close aide of Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, and others in the illegal mining case, the agency said on Friday.
The seized amount belongs to Mishra, Dahu Yadav, and their associates. The amount was seized under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.
Earlier, ED had conducted searches at 19 locations in Sahibganj, Barhet, Rajmahal, Mirza Chauki, and Barharwar in Jharkhand resulting in the seizure of various incriminating documents along with unaccounted cash of Rs 5.34 on July 8.
During this search operation, ED also seized five stone crushers that were being illegally operated from the Site and also five illegal firearm cartridges, it said.
"The evidences collected during the course of investigation including statements of various persons, digital evidences and documents revealed that the seized cash and bank balance is derived from illegal mining being rampantly done in the Sahibganj area including the forest area," said the ED.
A trail of additional Rs 100 crore of proceeds of crime generated from illegal mining has also been unearthed and being worked upon, said the ED.
Earlier in the month of May searches at 36 locations connected with the MNREGA Scam were conducted under PMLA resulting in the seizure of Rs 19.76 crore in cash. The searched premises included premises of Pooja Singhal, IAS, and her associates the federal agency said.
In this case also, the ED said, evidence collected during the course of the investigation, including those gathered after searches and statements of various persons, revealed that the major chunk of the seized cash was derived from illegal mining and was belonging to senior bureaucrats and politicians.
Pooja Singhal and Suman Kumar, a Chartered Accountant, were arrested in this case and are presently in judicial custody. A prosecution complaint has been filed in this case.
Thus, in total, cash and bank balance of Rs 36.58 crore, illegally generated from mining has been seized by the ED in the case. (ANI)