The Enforcement Directorate is conducting searches in Jharkhand over the misappropriation of MGNREGA funds; a fraud that took place in 2007-08.
16 FIRs were registered by the Jharkhand Vigilance Bureau, on the basis of which the agency arrested a section officer and junior engineer Ram Binod Prasad Sinha on June 17, 2020, who was accused of misappropriating ₹18 Crore.
Upon questioning, Sinha revealed the names of bureaucrats who could have been a part of the MGNREGA fund misappropriation case, including Mining Secretary and IAS officer Pooja Singhal.
The searches were done at about 18 premises in Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Delhi, Punjab and a few other states under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
ED recovered the ₹18 Crore, out of which ₹17 Crore were recovered from the premises of a Ranchi-based Chartered Accountant, who serves the Mining and Geology Secretary of Jharkhand government, IAS officer Pooja Singhal. Around ₹1.8 crores of cash have also been recovered from another location in the city.
Pooja Singhal is a 2000 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer who was posted as the deputy commissioner in Khunti district earlier.
Videos were posted on social media, which showed officials counting the notes using banknote counters.
The fund embezzled was supposed to be used for the execution of government projects under the MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) scheme in the Kunti district.
ED is conducting raids at Pulse Hospital, Ranchi. Hospital owner is a close relative of Pooja Singhal, Secretary, Mines and Geology in the state of Jharkhand. Search underway since morning: Sources— ANI (@ANI) May 6, 2022
ED is also conducting raids at a hospital in Ranchi, which is owned by a close relative of IAS Pooja Singhal, reported ANI.