Coal scam: ED claims Tiwari got flat opposite Saumya’s house for transactions
The ED’s charge sheet also claimed they have recovered two diaries, which contain 950 entries, detailing transactions worth ₹540 crore
In its second charge sheet filed in a special court in Raipur in the alleged coal levy scam in Chhattisgarh, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has claimed that the main accused in the case Suryakant Tiwari had got a flat opposite Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel’s former deputy secretary Saumya Chaurasia’s residence in Bhilai, from where illegal money transactions may have been carried out.
The charge sheet runs into more than 5,500 pages and was filed in the court of 4th additional district and sessions judge (special judge PMLA) Ajay Singh Rajput on Monday.
The alleged scam that has been at the centre of a political storm in Chhattisgarh has seen the arrests of IAS officer Sameer Vishnoi, businessman Sunil Agrawal, Laxmikant Tiwari, Suryakant Tiwari and Chaurasia among other accomplices including officials of the mining department. The agency has alleged that the accused created a nexus which then collected illegal levies of ₹25 per tonne of coal that was transported from mines in Chhattisgarh, and a part of the money was used for “election funding” and bribing officials.
Saumya Chaurasia, her brother Anurag Chaurasia, Suryakant Tiwari’s brother Rajnikant Tiwari, his mother Kailash Tiwari, mining officers S S Nag and Sandeep Kumar Nayak, and one Rajesh Choudhary have been named as accused in the second charge sheet. The ED submitted that Tiwari was able to pressurise various officers to do illegal acts by using Saumya Chaurasia’s name.
However, Faizal Rizvi, Chauraisa’s lawyer, refuted all charges and rejected them as “politically motivated”.
The ED’s charge sheet also claimed that they have recovered two diaries, which contain 950 entries, detailing transactions worth ₹540 crore. Out of this amount, the diaries show that ₹170 crore was used to allegedly purchase benaami assets, 36 crore was given to Chaurasia via one Manish Upadhyaya, ₹52 crore was paid to a senior politician, 4 crore to some MLAs in Chhattisgarh among other transactions.
To be sure, these are yet to be proved in a court of law.
“There are various outgoing entries in the diaries relating to payment of cash to one Manish Upadhayay, who was close to Chaurasia. Upadhayay was a relative of Suryakant Tiwari, who planted a flat right opposite to the flat of Chaurasia…The ED investigation revealed that whenever Chaurasia needed cash money from Tiwari’s coal cartel, the money was sent to Upadhyay and entered in the diaries under the name “MU”, which has been corroborated from the timings of the sale deeds & admissions by the employees of this coal cartel,” the charge says. HT has seen a copy of the document.
The ED has also said that they conducted an investigation of the financial trail and looked at land deals made in the name of the family of Chaurasia, and have been able to establish that funds moved from Tiwari to Chaurasia via Upadhyaya. “The analysis of seized diaries show that Saumya Chaurasia had received amounts in excess of ₹30 crore from the illegal extortion done by Tiwari,” the ED claimed.
In the investigation section of the chargesheet, the ED has also mentioned the names of three IPS officers who allegedly provided documents and information to Tiwari, apart from two employees of the Chhattisgarh mining department. “The entire extortion racket would not have been possible without the active participation of the mining officers…The extortion racket would not have occurred, if the mining officers had followed the rule book and expeditiously issued the manual NOCs,” the ED stated.