Illegal Mining: ED Seizes Rs 11.88 Crore From Jharkhand CM’s Aide & Others

Ranchi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) seized Rs 11.88 crore in cash from 37 bank accounts belonging to Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren’s close aide Pankaj Mishra and his associates in connection with a case of money-laundering linked to alleged illegal mining.

According to ED officials, the money was courtesy illegal mining in multiple places, including Soren’s constituency Sahebganj, The Indian Express reported.

ED had, on July 7, conducted searches at 19 locations in Jharkhand’s Sahibganj, Barhet, Rajmahal, Mirza Chauki and Barharwa areas, and seized documents and Rs 5.34 crore of ‘unaccounted’ cash.

“During this search operation, the ED also seized five stone crushers that were being illegally operated from the site, and also five illegal firearm cartridges. The evidence collected during the course of the investigation, including statements of various persons, digital evidence and documents, revealed that the seized cash/bank balance is derived from illegal mining being rampantly done in the Sahibganj area, including the forest area,” ED said in a statement.

“A trail of further Rs 100 crore of proceeds of crime generated from illegal mining has also been unearthed,” the agency stated.

The Jharkhand CM is facing allegations of corruption for allotting a mining lease to himself and a plot to his wife.

Election Commission of India (ECI) has also issued a notice to Soren’s brother and MLA Basant Soren in the mining lease issue.

The ECI is examining whether Basant’s case could lead to his disqualification as an MLA. The agency has also sent a notice to CM Soren, seeking his stand on the charges against him.

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