India

Mining Minister of Jharkhand State Arrested in Alleged Money Laundering Case -by Ecork

Pooja Singhal was the deputy collector in the Khunti district when the money was allegedly embezzled.

New Delhi:

The Directorate of Enforcement has arrested the Mining Minister of Jharkhand State, Pooja Singhal, in an alleged money laundering case that surfaced while investigating the misappropriation of MNREGA funds.

Ms. Singhal was the Deputy Collector for the Khunti District when the MNREGA funds were misappropriated.

Funds have been allocated to implement various government projects under the MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) in the Khunti region.

The agency also seized more than Rs 17 crore from its chartered accountant during the searches last week.

Ms. Sengal was arrested after the second consecutive interrogation session at the agency’s offices in Ranchi. Arriving in the morning, she was interrogated for more than nine hours today. The testimony of her husband, businessman Abhishek Jha, was also recorded.

The interrogation came after the agency carried out raids against the bureaucracy and its husband in Jharkhand and a few other locations.

The agency also confiscated four SUVs – a Jaguar, a Fortuner and two Hondas – that were in the CS name. Suman Kumar and his associates under the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

The case against Singhal arose after the agency arrested the former young engineer in the Jharkhand government, Ram Benod Prasad Sinha, in June 2020 on charges of corruption and fraud. Benod Prasad Sinha also embezzled MNREGA funds by helping government officials by giving them huge kickbacks.

During interrogation, he told the Enforcement Directorate that he had “paid a 5 percent commission (of the fraudulent money) to administer the area.”

At that time, Ms. Singhal – who was the Deputy Commissioner/ Judge of the Chattra, Kunti and Palamu Districts – was accused of “improperiety”.

In the remand note filed in court, the agency – which is investigating his alleged links to the officer and her husband – claimed that the couple received cash amounting to Rs 1.43 crore.

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