The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday filed a chargesheet under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) before a Ranchi court against Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren's MLA representative, associates Bachhu Yadav and Prem Prakash in a Rs 1,000-crore illegal mining case.
The court has taken cognisance of the chargesheet.
During the probe, 47 searches were conducted throughout India by the ED on several dates resulting in the seizure of cash to the tune of Rs 5.34 crore, freezing of bank balances amounting to Rs 13.32 crore, seizing of an inland vessel MV Infralink-III, five stone crushers, two Hyva trucks besides the seizure of incriminating documents along with two AK 47 assault rifles.
Earlier, the probe agency ED had arrested Pankaj Mishra on July 19, 2022, Bachhu Yadav on August 4, and Prem Prakash on August 25. The arrested accused persons are presently in judicial custody.
The ED had initiated a money laundering investigation on the basis of an FIR registered by Barharwa Police Station, Sahebganj District, Jharkhand under various sections of the IPC against Pankaj Mishra and others. Later on, several FIRs regarding illegal mining lodged under the IPC, Explosive substances Act, Arms Act have also been taken into the ambit of scheduled offences.
“Till date, the ED has identified proceeds of crime relating to illegal mining to the tune of more than Rs 1000 crore in this case,” said the agency.
“The PMLA Investigation revealed that Pankaj Mishra, who enjoys political clout, being the representative of Chief Minister Hemant Soren, MLA from Barhait, Sahebganj, Jharkhand, controls the illegal mining businesses as well as inland ferry services in Sahebganj and its adjoining areas through his accomplices,” said the agency in a statement.
“He exercises considerable control over the mining of stone chips and boulders as well as the installation and operations of several crushers, set up across various mining sites in Sahebganj,” the statement added.
Proceeds of crime amounting to Rs 42 crore acquired by the accused Pankaj Mishra have been identified till date.