GG News Bureau
Ranchi, 14th April. In connection with a money laundering investigation involving an alleged illegal land sale, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has conducted raids in Jharkhand, Bihar, and West Bengal and arrested seven people, including a government official, sources said on Friday.
Afshar Ali, Imtiaz Ahmed, Pradeep Bagchi, Md Saddam Hussain, Talha Khan, Faiyaz Khan, and Bhanu Pratap Prasad are among those detained.
Prasad works as a circle inspector for the Jharkhand government, while the others have been identified as “middlemen” in the case by ED sources.
The seven have been arrested under the criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), they said.
The raids began on Thursday in 22 locations across the three states, including the offices of 2011-batch Jharkhand cadre Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Chhavi Ranjan, who previously served as a deputy commissioner in the state capital Ranchi.
During the searches, the agency questioned Ranjan.
The action was taken in accordance with the provisions of the anti-money laundering law, and the agency is investigating more than a dozen land deal cases, including one involving a defence land, in which a group of land ‘mafia’, middlemen, and bureaucrats allegedly “connived” in forging land deeds and documents as early as 1932.
The lands of the poor and downtrodden were “usurped” as part of this land fraud, ED sources said.
The federal agency took cognizance of a police FIR of forgery of some personal identification documents registered by the local municipal corporation and launched an investigation under the PMLA.
During the searches, the agency recovered several fake seals, land deeds, and registry documents, according to sources.
On Thursday, BJP leader Babulal Marandi issued a statement in which he demanded to know what action Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren would take in response to the ED’s latest action. This is the second instance in which an IAS officer from the Jharkhand cadre has been investigated by the ED. The ED raided and arrested IAS officer Pooja Singhal in a money laundering case last year.