CBI arrests ex-General Manager of ECL for taking bribe and patronising illegal coal syndicate

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Asansol (West Bengal): The Central Bureau of Investigation on Friday 15 July 2022 arrested the ex- General Manager (now retired) of Pandaveswar Area, Eastern Coalfields Limited in an on-going investigation of a case.

It is alleged that the accused had obtained undue favour in the form of regular cash amount as bribe from a private person (named in FIR) and facilitated misappropriation of coal from ECL leasehold area and corresponding railway siding and thereby extended undue protection and patronage to the illegal coal syndicate being run by the “private person”.

A case was registered on 27 November 2020 on the allegations that the public servants of ECL, including security personnel, private persons and unknown officials of CISF, Railways, other departments entered into conspiracy during May, 2020 and thereafter and carrying forward their conspiracy, they fraudulently misappropriated coal from the coal reserve of leasehold areas under the dominion of ECL and also from the coal stock parked in the Railway sidings for sale and supply.

Earlier, CBI had also conducted searches at various places including in the States of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and UP at the premises of the accused persons.

The arrested accused will be produced before the Special Court at Asansol on Saturday.

Illegal mining in Jharkhand

In another case, the Enforcement Directorate has seized cash amounting to Rs. 11.88 Crore lying in 37 bank accounts belonging to Pankaj Mishra, Dahoo Yadav and their associates under the Prevention of Money laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 in an illegal mining case.

Earlier, ED had conducted searches at 19 locations in Sahibganj, Barhet, Rajmahal, Mirza Chauki and Barharwa in Jharkhand, resulting in seizure of various incriminating documents and Rs 5.34 Crore unaccounted cash on 08.07.2022. During this search operation, ED has also seized five stone crushers that were being illegally operated from the Site and also five illegal firearm cartridges. The evidences collected during the course of investigation including statements of various persons, digital evidences and documents revealed that the seized cash/bank balance is derived from illegal mining being rampantly done in Sahibganj area including the forest area. A trail of
further Rs. 100 Crore of Proceeds of crime generated from illegal mining has also been unearthed and being worked upon.

Earlier in the month of May, 2022, searches at 36 locations connected with the MNREGA Scam were conducted under PMLA resulting in seizure of Rs 19.76 Crore cash. The searched premises included premises of Pooja Singhal, IAS, and her associates. In this case also, evidences collected during the course of investigation including those collected during the searches and statements of various persons revealed that the major chunk of the seized cash was derived from illegal mining and was belonging to senior beaureucrats and politicians. Pooja Singhal and Suman Kumar, CA were arrested in this case and are presently in judicial custody. A prosecution complaint has been filed in this case.

In total, cash and bank balance of Rs 36.58 Crore, illegally generated from Mining and other illegal activities has been seized by ED.

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