ED arrests Deputy Secretary Baghel in PMLA case

On Friday, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested Saumya Chaurasia, Deputy Secretary to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, in an investigation into alleged money laundering.

Sameer Vishnoi, Laxmikant Tiwari and Sunil Kumar Agarwal of the Indramani Group were arrested in October by the ED.

According to sources, the ED investigation found “officials and politicians in the state were involved in an illegal coal transportation levy that was bringing in Rs 2-3 crore daily”.

Following her questioning by the investigation team on Friday, Chaurasia was taken into custody under criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). According to sources, she got a medical checkup after the arrest.

According to the ED, they seized cash worth Rs 1.5 crore from Laxmikant Tiwari during the search and investigation. According to him, he handled Rs 1 crore to Rs 2 crore a day. Indramani Group’s Sunil Kumar Agrawal was found to be involved in this racket and a major business partner of Suryakant Tiwari. IAS officer Sameer Vishnoi, 2009 batch, and his wife were found with Rs 47 lakh unaccounted cash and 4 kilograms of gold jewellery.”

For every tonne of coal transported in Chhattisgarh, an illegal levy of Rs 25 per tonne was allegedly being collected by a cartel of senior bureaucrats, businessmen, politicians, and middlemen. According to the ED, proceeds of crime were being invested in Benami assets, bribed officials to influence senior officials, and used by or on behalf of political executives.

It created a network of extortion whereby every buyer/transporter of coal had to pay Rs 25 per tonne before they got the NOC from the DM’s office. They kept people who collected and moved money and shared the profits among kingpins, workers, senior IAS-IPS officers and politicians. Around Rs 2-3 crore was generated every day,” the ED said.

ED started the money laundering investigation after Income Tax Department filed an FIR.

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Hi, my name is Nisha and I'm an educational journalist based in India. I've always been passionate about the power of education to transform lives, and that's what led me to pursue a career in journalism focused on this area. I completed my Bachelor's degree in English from Hindu College in Delhi in 2013 and then went on to earn my Master's in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in 2017. During my studies, I also completed several short-term courses on Education in India, Sociology, and other related subjects to deepen my knowledge in this field. I'm particularly interested in improving access to quality education in rural areas, where students often face significant challenges. I've worked on a number of initiatives to address this issue, including advocating for better policies, resources, and practices that can make a difference. As an educational journalist, I'm passionate about using my platform to highlight important issues in the education space. I've covered a wide range of topics, including the impact of technology in the classroom, innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and the challenges facing students from marginalized communities. One of the things I love most about my work is the opportunity to constantly learn and grow. I'm an avid reader and believe that reading is key to expanding one's knowledge and perspective. I'm always seeking out new ideas and insights to help me better understand the world around me. In summary, as an educational journalist, I'm dedicated to using my skills and expertise to make a positive impact in the field of education. I'm committed to improving access to quality education for all students and to using my platform to raise awareness about important issues in this area.

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