Tuesday, March 5, 2024

ED seizes Rs 30 crore worth vessel of Jharkhand CM’s aide

Pankaj Mishra

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has seized a vessel worth Rs 30 crores at the behest of Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren’s MLA representative, Pankaj Mishra. 

The inland ship, named MV Infralink-III, was allegedly transporting illegally mined stone chips and boulders from the Sukargarh Ghat in Sahibganj (Jharkhand) at the instruction of an aide of Pankaj Mishra, namely Rajesh Yadav alias Dahu Yadav, and others. 

An FIR (first information report) has been filed with Mufassil police station in Sahibganj in connection with the seizure of the ship under the Bengal Ferries Act, 1885, and provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against the vessel’s owner.

Two stone crushers that were being used illegally had already been seized by ED. Additionally, three trucks transporting boulders and stone chips that had been unlawfully mined without mining challans were seized by the agency. The unreported and concealed surplus illegally mined area is anticipated to be 37.5 million cubic feet. The ED estimates that the processing value of the chipped stone from mines is around Rs 45 crore.

On July 19, Pankaj Mishra, a close adviser to Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, was arrested in connection with the money laundering case involving purported illicit mining near Ranchi. Mishra was apprehended after many hours of interrogation by ED officials. He was sent for another 6 days of remand on July 26.

On July 8, the ED raided 18 properties in Jharkhand purportedly associated with Pankaj Mishra and the latter’s suspected business connections in Sahebganj, Berhait, Rajmahal, and Mirza Chauki.

The agency reportedly confiscated Rs 11.88 crore in cash from 37 bank accounts connected to Pankaj Mishra. During the search, the ED also discovered five unlawfully operational stone crushers and five illicit pistol cartridges.

Previously, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) revealed that politicians and officials were participating in the illicit mining activity that has been going on in Jharkhand, and they gained profit by leveraging their power. The agency discovered a trail of more than Rs 100 crores linked to illicit mining in the state.

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