Jharkhand: In a case involving illegal mining worth Rs 1,000 crore, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday filed a chargesheet under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in a Ranchi court against Bachhu Yadav and Prem Prakash, an MLA who represents Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren.
The charge sheet has been acknowledged by the court
The ED conducted 47 searches across India as part of the investigation on various dates, yielding the confiscation of incriminating documents, two AK-47 assault rifles, and cash worth Rs 5.34 crore. Bank balances worth Rs 13.32 crore were also frozen, along with an inland vessel called MV Infralink-III, five stone crushers, and two Hyva trucks.
Who Is Pankaj Mishra and Prem Prakash?
Pankaj Mishra, Bachhu Yadav, and Prem Prakash were previously detained by the investigation agency ED on July 19, 2022, August 4, and August 25, respectively. The apprehended suspects are currently being held in judicial custody.
On the basis of a FIR filed by Barharwa Police Station, Sahebganj District, Jharkhand under various sections of the IPC against Pankaj Mishra and others, the ED launched a money laundering probe. Later, a number of FIRs involving illicit mining that were filed under the IPC, the Explosive Substances Act, and the Arms Act were also included in the list of scheduled offences.
In this instance, the ED has so far discovered proceeds of crime from illicit mining totaling more than Rs 1000 crore, according to the agency.
The agency released a statement saying, “The PMLA Investigation revealed that Pankaj Mishra, who enjoys political clout, is the representative of Chief Minister Hemant Soren, MLA from Barhait, Sahebganj, Jharkhand, and controls the illegal mining businesses as well as inland ferry services in Sahebganj and its neighbouring areas through his accomplices.”
The statement said, “He exercises significant control over the installation and operation of multiple crushers, set up across various mining sites in Sahebganj, as well as the mining of stone chips and boulders.
To now, it has been determined that the accused Pankaj Mishra purchased 42 crore rupees’ worth of criminal proceeds.