The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday made a fresh arrest in the money-laundering case linked to the illegal mining and extortion scam in Jharkhand. Bacchu Yadav, an associate of Dahu Yadav, was taken into custody after he was questioned by the investigators Ranchi. Last month, ED raided the premises linked to Bacchu Yadav.
Dahu Yadav is linked to Pankaj Mishra, a political aide of Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren. As per officials, Dahu Yadav has gone underground since the ED initiated action in the case. Mishra was arrested by the ED in the case on July 19.
Bacchu Yadav will be produced before a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court on Friday when the ED will seek his remand for custodial interrogation.
On Thursday, the agency questioned CM Soren’s press advisor Abhishek Prasad alias Pintu for the second day at its regional office in the city’s Hinoo area. Prasad has been asked to depose again on Friday and continue recording his statement.
The money laundering probe began after the agency raided Mishra and his alleged associates on July 8, covering 19 locations in Sahibganj, Barhet, Rajmahal, Mirza Chauki, and Barharwa in Jharkhand. The case is linked to alleged instances of illegal mining and extortion in the state.
The searches were launched after the ED filed a PMLA case in March against Soren-aide Pankaj Mishra and others, alleging that he “illegally grabbed or amassed huge assets in his favour”.
ED seizes water vessel worth Rs 30 crore
Late last month, the ED seized an inland water vessel worth Rs 30 crore in connection with its probe. The agency claimed that the vessel was being “operated illegally, without having any permit from Sukargarh Ghat in Sahibganj (Jharkhand)”.
“The vessel was being operated at the behest of Rajesh Yadav alias Dahu Yadav in collusion with Pankaj Mishra and others for transporting illegally mined stone chips and stone boulders,” the ED had said.
Soon after the July 19 raids, the ED froze deposits of Rs 11.88 crore in 37 bank accounts belonging to Mishra and Dahu Yadav. Apart from this, “unaccounted” cash amounting to Rs 5.34 crore was also seized by the agency, claiming that the money was linked to “illegal mining” in Jharkhand.
Five stone crushers that were being “illegally” operated and an equal number of “illegal firearm cartridges” were also seized by the ED.
“The evidence collected during the course of the investigation, including the 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,” the federal probe agency had said.
The ED is probing a trail of Rs 100 crore of “proceeds of crime” generated from illegal mining operations in the state.
Over the last two months, the agency has seized cash amounting to more than Rs 36 crore, as part of two separate money-laundering investigations linked to “illegal mining” in Jharkhand.