ED raids Jharkhand minister's staff; recovers Rs 25 crore in cash, official documents : The Tribune India

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ED raids Jharkhand minister's staff; recovers Rs 25 crore in cash, official documents

PM Modi slams Congress; wonders why such persons were 'close to Congress' first family'

Video: ED recovers ‘mini mountain’ of cash from servant’s room of Jharkhand minister's secretary


Ranchi, May 6

The Enforcement Directorate on Monday claimed to have recovered an estimated Rs 25 crore “unaccounted” cash and several official documents during searches on the premises of a domestic help of a secretary of Jharkhand minister Alamgir Alam, official sources said.

A cache of more than Rs 3 crore cash was separately seized by the central agency from some other premises being searched in the state as part of a money laundering investigation linked to the state rural development department, the sources said.

The ED has been probing this case since last year and has arrested a former chief engineer of the state rural development department.

Videos and photos shared by the sources showed officials of the agency emptying wads of currency notes from large bags in a 2BHK flat located at Gadikhana Chowk here.

As many as eight note-counting machines were deployed by the agency apart from bank staff to ascertain the exact amount of currency that was majorly in the Rs 500 denomination.

Personnel of central paramilitary forces stood guard at the building where the flat is located.

It is claimed Jahangir Alam, a domestic help of Congress leader and Jharkhand Rural Development Minister Alamgir Alam's personal secretary Sanjiv Lal, is residing at this location along with Lal, the sources said.

The keys to the premises where the cash was found were seized from Lal's flat, they said.

An official document written by the ED to the state chief secretary and recommendatory transfer and posting letters were also found during the searches at the premises, the source said.

Minister Alamgir Alam told PTI that he had “no official information regarding this so far”.

“I have been watching TV and it says the premises are linked to the official PS (private secretary) provided to me by the government,” he added.

The 70-year-old minister represents the Pakur seat in the Jharkhand assembly.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been alleging that he is being targeted by the opposition for his action against corruption, referred to the ED seizures in his poll rallies in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh on Monday.

He said “mounds of cash” were seized by the ED in Jharkhand and wondered why such persons were “close to the Congress' first family”.

“They have made the worker's house a godown of corruption. This is not the first time as a bigger seizure was made from an MP (in Jharkhand) earlier also and it was such a big cache that even machines were tired of counting,” he said at Vemagiri.

“Why is it that those, from whom mounds of cash are recovered, are close to the Congress' first family? Was the seized cash meant for supply somewhere, is it that Congress' first family has created warehouses of black money? The country wants to know from Congress shehzada,” he said in an apparent jibe at Rahul Gandhi.

Modi, during the rally in Odisha, said he was being criticised for “stopping corruption and loot”.

The Congress and other opposition parties have accused the Modi government of misusing central agencies like the ED to target their leaders.

ED sources said they estimate that the cash could be more than Rs 25 crore but a final figure could only be ascertained after counting.

Two currency counting machines had to be replaced as they stopped working due to overheating, they said.

Visuals show large trunks being taken inside the location so that the cash can be taken for depositing in a bank branch.

The agency also seized from the flat a May 2023 official communication written by the Ranchi unit of the ED to the Jharkhand chief secretary seeking an independent probe and registration of an FIR into the “revelations” of alleged bribes taken from contractors.

These purported disclosures were made by former chief engineer of the rural works department Veerendra Kumar Ram, who was arrested by the ED last year in this case.

Some recommendation letters written by MLAs and other high-profile people to Alam for favourable transfer and posting of state government officials have also been recovered from the said premises, the sources said.

A total of six premises are being searched as part of the operation, and from two premises the agency has recovered Rs 2.93 crore and Rs 10 lakh each, the sources said. Some jewellery has also been seized, they said.

The searches are linked to a money laundering case against the former chief engineer of the rural works department, Veerendra Kumar Ram, who was arrested by the ED last year.

“Veerendra Kumar Ram, posted as chief engineer in the Rural Works Department in Ranchi, had generated proceeds of crime in the name of commission from contractors in lieu of allotment of tenders to them,” the agency had alleged in a statement issued last year in April after it attached assets worth Rs 39 crore of the officer.

“The proceeds of crime thus generated were used by Veerendra Kumar Ram and his family members to live a very lavish lifestyle,” it said.

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

#Congress #Enforcement Directorate #Jharkhand

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