New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday September 21 said it has filed a chargesheet before a special Ranchi court against Pankaj Mishra, a close aide of Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren, Bachhu Yadav and Prem Prakash in connection with a Prevention of Money Laundering case pertaining to illegal mining and extortion in Jharkhand and Bihar.
The court has taken cognizance of the matter.
The ED said that during investigation, 47 search operations were conducted throughout India on several dates resulting in the seizure of Rs 5.34 crore in cash, freezing of bank balances amounting to Rs 13.32 crore, freezing of an inland vessel MV Infralink -III, reg. No- WB 1809, 5 stone crushers, two Hyva trucks besides the seizure of incriminating documents along with two AK 47 assault rifles.
Earlier, the ED had arrested Pankaj Mishra, Bachhu Yadav and Prem Prakash. They are presently in judicial custody.
The agency initiated a money laundering investigation on the basis of the FIR registered at the Barharwa police station in Sahebganj district of Jharkhand under various sections of the IPC, against Mishra and others.
Later, several FIRs regarding illegal mining lodged under the IPC, Explosive Substances Act, Arms Act were also taken into the ambit of the offence.
Till date, the ED has identified PoC relating to illegal mining to the tune of more than Rs 1000 crore in this case.
The PMLA investigation revealed that Mishra, who enjoys political clout being the representative of the Chief Minister, controls the illegal mining businesses as well as inland ferry services in Sahebganj and its adjoining areas through his accomplices.
“He exercises considerable control over the mining of stone chips and boulders as well as installation and operation of several crushers, set up across various mining sites in Sahebganj. Proceeds of Crime (PoC) amounting to Rs 42 crore acquired by Mishra have been identified till date,” said the ED official.