The Enforcement Directorate (ED) raided multiple locations in Jharkhand on Wednesday as part of an ongoing money-laundering investigation into alleged illegal mining in the state, official sources said.
The federal probe agency will cover about 17-20 premises in the state as part of the operation.
The searches were carried out after fresh information came to the fore following the questioning of Pankaj Mishra, a political aide of Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, and Mishras associate and muscleman Bachhu Yadav, the sources said.
Both Mishra and Yadav were arrested by the ED in this case sometime ago.
The ED 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 in the case linked to alleged instances of illegal mining and extortion.
The searches were launched after the ED filed a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against Mishra and others in March, alleging that the former “illegally grabbed or amassed huge assets in his favour”.
Soon after the July raids, the ED seized funds amounting to Rs 13.32 crore lying in 50 bank accounts.
“The evidence collected during the course of the investigation, including the statements of various persons, digital evidence and documents, revealed that the seized cash or bank balance is derived from illegal mining being rampantly done in the Sahibganj area, including the forest area,” the agency had said.
It had said it was probing the trail of Rs 100 crore of “proceeds of crime” generated from illegal mining operations in Jharkhand.
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