From National Herald to Bengal school jobs scam: Top high-profile cases under ED lens in 2022
In the current monsoon session of Parliament, Union minister of state for finance Pankaj Chaudhary informed the Rajya Sabha that the ED has carried out as many as 3,010 raids in the last eight years, and filed charge sheets in 888 cases, causing the conviction of 23 accused.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is currently in news for profile more than one high-profile case that has shaken the country’s opposition across the country and led to a massive war of words with the Narendra Modi-led central government. Among these is the money laundering case linked with the National Herald newspaper in which Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge are being questioned.
While the opposition camp has accused the federal agency of working as per the whims of the government, the Centre has consistently junked such allegations.
In the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament, Union minister of state for finance Pankaj Chaudhary informed the Rajya Sabha that over the last eight years, the ED has conducted 3,010 raids and attached proceeds of crime worth over ₹99,000 crore under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). He added that while the central agency has filed charge sheets in as many as 888 cases, 23 people have been convicted so far.
Here’s a look at some of the high-profile cases that have been in news lately:
1. National Herald case
As many as 12 locations in Delhi and other places in India were raided in connection with the case in which Sonia Gandhi and her MP son Rahul Gandhi were quizzed for several hours in June and July, respectively. The case pertains to the alleged financial irregularities under the PMLA. It was filed following complaints from the BJP's Subramaniam Swamy about 10 years ago. The ED on Wednesday (August 3) sealed the Congress-owned Young Indian’s office at the Herald House building in the national capital. The newspaper was founded by India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1938 during the fight against British colonial rule.
2. Sanjay Raut in Patra Chawl Scam
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut is currently in ED custody in a money laundering case related to financial irregularities linked to the Patra Chawl case. The central agency raided Raut's Bhandup bungalow and seized ₹11.5 lakh in cash. It also seized many vital documents during the searches, including records that Raut paid ₹3 crores in cash to the sellers for 10 plots of land in Alibaug. The Court sent the Sena MP to ED custody till August 4. The agency has also accused Raut of trying to tamper with the evidence and influence key witnesses. Earlier in the day, his wife Varsha Raut was also summoned by the ED.
3. Partha Chatterjee and Arpita Mukherjee in Bengal SSC scam
Last month, the ED recovered nearly ₹50 crore in cash along with jewellery from former Bengal education minister Partha Chatterjee's close aide Arpita Mukherjee's flats, while probing the SSC recruitment scam. Soon after, Chatterjee was arrested, followed by Mukherjee being taken into custody. Another ₹21 crore in cash and jewellery from another Kolkata residence of Mukherjee was recovered. TMC boss and Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee sacked him as a minister and also suspended him from the party.
4. IAS Pooja Singhal in Jharkhand mining case
An aide of Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren, IAS officer Pooja Singhal was quizzed in a money laundering case linked to the alleged embezzlement of MGNREGA funds in state's Khunti and Chatra districts. She was arrested in May, and nearly ₹20 crore in cash was seized from her and her chartered accountant. The ED also raided Ranchi's Pulse Hospital, owned by Singhal's husband Abhishek Jha. Singhal was the secretary of the Department of Mines and Geology and the managing director of Jharkhand State Mineral Development Corporation Limited (JSMDC). At the time when the embezzlement took place, she was collector of the Khunti district.
4. Satyendar Jain’s disproportionate assets case
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain was arrested by the ED in May after the CBI lodged an FIR against him in a disproportionate assets case in August 2017. More than ₹2 crore in cash and gold weighing 1.8kg were seized by the ED after raids against the minister and individuals associated with him in the case. The ED said that the total movable assets were seized from an "unexplained source" and were "found to be secreted" in the raided premises.
5. Karti Chidambaram in Chinese visa case
In one of the most high-profile cases this year, the ED booked Congress veteran P Chidambaram's son and party MP Karti Chidambaram in a money laundering case linked to the Chinese visa case. This happened close on the heels of the CBI conducting nationwide raids in May this year on various premises linked to senior Chidambaram and Karti in relation to the case. The FIR is based on allegations that Karti accepted a bribe of ₹50 lakh from the Vedanta Group to facilitate visas for 300 Chinese nationals of a firm working in collaboration with a Vedanta subsidiary for a power project in Punjab.
7. Yes Bank- DHFL fraud case
The ED has attached assets summing up to ₹415 crore in Yes Bank- DHFL fraud case. Of the total, ₹251 crore and ₹164 crore assets were of builders Sanjay Chhabria and of Avinash Bhosale, respectively. Later, the agency issued two provisional attachment orders under the PMLA against the duo which took the sum to ₹1,827 crore. The attached assets of Chhabria are in the form of a land parcel located in Santacruz, Mumbai worth ₹116.5 crore, 25 per cent equity shares of Chhabria's firm held in the land parcel, located at Bengaluru worth ₹115 crore, a flat located in Santacruz worth ₹3 crore, among others. The attached assets of Bhosale were in the form of a duplex flat belonging to him, and located in Mumbai worth ₹102.8 crore, one land parcel located in Pune worth ₹14.65 crore, one more land parcel located in Pune worth ₹29.24 crore, a land parcel located in Nagpur worth ₹15.52 crore, and more. Both are currently in judicial custody after the ED arrested them in June.
8. Nawab Malik in connection with links with fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Nawab Malik is currently in ED custody in relation to a case wherein the agency said that as per its investigation he had links with fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim's D-company for a long time. The central agency has filed a charge sheet before the Special PMLA court in Mumbai in which it mentioned Malik's alleged connection to the D-company, and purported conspiracy to "usurp" the Goawala building compound in Kurla West in 1996.
9. Farooq Abdullah in JKCA fund scam
The ED filed a supplementary charge sheet against former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah in the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) fund scam. The ED initiated a money laundering probe on the basis of a charge sheet filed by the CBI on July 11, 2018, against office bearers of JKCA in the case dated September 2015. The quantum of proceeds of crime identified by ED in this case so far is ₹51.90 crore, of which, assets worth ₹21.55 crore have been attached by federal agency.
10. Bhupinder Singh Honey in sand mining case
The ED carried out raids on the premises of property owned by former Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi's nephew Bhupinder Singh Honey in an alleged illegal sand mining case. Honey was arrested by ED on February 3 from Jalandhar. The agency recovered over ₹10 crore in cash, gold worth above ₹21 lakh and a Rolex watch worth ₹12 lakh from the residential premises of Honey. Channi was also quizzed by the ED.
(With inputs from ANI)