IAS officer Pooja Singhal arrested in Jharkhand money laundering case, sent to ED custody for 5 days


Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Pooja Singhal, the secretary of Jharkhand mining department, was arrested in connection with a money laundering case on Wednesday.

IAS officer Pooja Singhal (Photo from @vaibhavUP65 on Twitter)

IAS officer Pooja Singhal (Photo from @vaibhavUP65 on Twitter)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • IAS officer Pooja Singhal has been arrested by the ED
  • The case involves the alleged embezzlement of crores of MGNREGA funds in Jharkhand

Pooja Singhal, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a money laundering case on Wednesday. She was questioned for several hours before the arrest. She will remain in the ED’s custody for five days.

The case involves the alleged embezzlement of crores of MGNREGA funds in Jharkhand.

Pooja Singhal is the mining secretary in Jharkhand.

WHAT IS THE CASE?

The Enforcement Directorate’s investigation against Pooja Singhal and others pertains to a money laundering case in which former junior engineer in the Jharkhand government, Ram Binod Prasad Sinha, was arrested by the agency on June 17, 2020 from West Bengal after he was booked by the agency under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 in 2012.

Ram Binod Prasad Sinha was accused of defrauding public money and investing it in his own name as well as in the name of his family members between April 1, 2008 and March 21, 2011.

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

The accused told the ED that “he paid five per cent commission (out of the defrauded funds) to the district administration.”

During the period, the ED alleged, charges of “irregularities” were made against Pooja Singhal while she served as the deputy commissioner/district magistrate of Chatra, Khunti and Palamu between 2007 and 2013.

CA Suman Kumar was arrested in the case on May 7 after over Rs 17 crore cash was seized from his premises. He is in ED custody till May 11.

The ED is probing his alleged links with the IAS officer and her husband.

The agency has claimed that Singhal and her husband received “huge” cash deposits — to the tune of Rs 1.43 crore — over and above her salary in their accounts.

The ED also told a special 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 CA Kumar.

(With inputs from PTI)



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