ED arrests Jharkhand minister’s secretary, domestic help after cash recovery | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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ED arrests Jharkhand minister’s secretary, domestic help after cash recovery

May 07, 2024 10:26 AM IST

The two were arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after their questioning overnight about the cash and its beneficiaries

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested Jharkhand rural development minister Alamgir Alam’s personal secretary, Sanjiv Lal, and a domestic help after allegedly recovering over 35 crore cash during raids in connection with a money laundering probe, people aware with the matter said on Tuesday.

Paramilitary and ED personnel during a raid in Ranchi on Monday. (ANI)
Paramilitary and ED personnel during a raid in Ranchi on Monday. (ANI)

The two were arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act after their questioning overnight about the cash and its beneficiaries.

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ED launched raids at separate premises in Ranchi including that of Alam on Monday. It said it recovered 32 crore and 3 crore cash at separate places. Eight counting machines and bank staff were brought in to count the cash, all in the denomination of 500.

In February 2023, Virendra Ram, a former Jharkhand rural development department chief engineer, was arrested for allegedly amassing wealth worth 100 crore. ED informed a court in Ranchi that a percentage of the commission he allegedly collected was distributed among senior bureaucrats and politicians.

“Ram played a pivotal role in managing tenders and allocation of work to private entities and the percentage of commission is distributed in a mechanised manner to higher-ups of government, including highly placed bureaucrats and politicians. Further, during [the] investigation, names of senior bureaucrats and politicians have emerged which is being investigated by ED,” the agency said in its remand note in February 2023. HT has seen a copy of the note.

Pratul Shahdeo, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Jharkhand spokesperson, on Monday said the recovery of cash was not new. “Earlier 350 crore was recovered from Congress’s Rajya Sabha member Dheeraj Sahay, 20 crore from the mines secretary. Now recovery of 25 crore has been made from the servant of the minister’s OSD [officer on special duty]. It is a matter of probe from where the servant, who hardly gets 30000 monthly, got such a huge amount. I think it was black money kept to spend during the election.”

He asked ED and the Election Commission of India to properly probe into the matter. “Jharkhand has become synonymous with corruption. Former chief minister [Hemant Soren] is in jail on the allegations of corruption.”

Alam said Lal, a government employee, has been a personal secretary of two former ministers. “There are several government employees and we usually appoint personal secretaries based on experience. It is not right to comment on the raids before ED’s investigation is completed.”

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