Ranchi: Directorate of Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed charge sheet under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) at Ranchi court against Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren’s representatives Pankaj Mishra and two others – Bachhu Yadav and Prem Prakash, the central agency said in a statement on Wednesday.
Pankaj Mishra, close aide of Soren, enjoys ‘political clout’ as he is the representative of the Chief Minister, the ED said, adding that he controls the illegal mining businesses as well as inland ferry services in Sahebganj and its adjoining areas through his accomplices.
During the probe, 47 searches were conducted throughout India across multiple states on different days which resulted in the seizure of cash amounting to Rs 5.34 crore, freezing of bank balances amounting to Rs 13.32 crore, freezing of an inland vessel, and seizure of 5 stone crushers, two trucks, the statement said.
Also, incriminating documents along with two AK 47 Assault Rifles and 60 bullets were recovered.
ED has filed a PC before Hon’ble Spl. Court under PMLA at Ranchi against Pankaj Mishra & ors. Court has taken cognizance of the same on 20.9.2022. During investigation, Cash & bank balances amounting to Rs.18.66 Cr., an inland vessel, 5 stone crushers,2 Hyva trucks were seized.
— ED (@dir_ed) September 21, 2022
The statement said the court took cognisance of the charge sheet or prosecution complaint on September 20.
“PMLA Investigation revealed that Pankaj Mishra, who enjoys political clout, being the representative of the Chief Minister, MLA from Barhait, Sahibganj, Jharkhand controls the illegal mining businesses as well as inland ferry services in Sahibganj and its adjoining areas through his accomplices,” the ED alleged.
“He exercises considerable control over the mining of stone chips and boulders as well as installation and operations of several crushers, set up across various mining sites in Sahibganj,” the statement claimed.
It said proceeds of crime amounting to about Rs 42 crore, “acquired” by the accused Pankaj Mishra have been identified.
ED earlier arrested Pankaj Mishra on July 19, 2022, Bachhu Yadav on August 4, and Prem Prakash on August 25. The arrested accused persons are presently in judicial custody.
The ED probe began after the agency raided Mishra and his alleged associates on July 8, covering 19 locations in Sahibganj, Barhait, Rajmahal, Mirza Chauki and Barharwa in Jharkhand in the case linked to alleged instances of illegal mining and extortion, news agency PTI reports.
ED initiated money laundering investigation on the basis of FIR registered by Barharwa Police Station in Sahebganj district against Pankaj Mishra & others.
Later on, several FIRs regarding illegal mining lodged under IPC, Explosive substances Act, Arms Act have also been taken into the ambit of scheduled offence.
The agency said it has “identified” proceeds of crimes, relating to illegal mining in the state, to the tune of more than Rs 1,000 crore till now.