An inland vessel bearing the West Bengal registration number was seized by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) during searches conducted on Tuesday in connection with the ongoing probe into illegal mining in Jharkhand. The agency alleges that with the connivance of Hemant Soren’s associate Pankaj Mishra and others, the ship was being operated without a permit from Sukargarh Ghat in Sahebganj at the behest of Rajesh Yadav alias Dahu Yadav.
According to the ED, the estimated cost of the ship is Rs 30 crore. In this regard, an FIR has also been registered in Sahebganj on other charges including cheating.
Earlier, two illegally operated stone crushers of Maa Amba Stone Works operated by Bishnu Yadav and Pavitra Yadav have frozen as well as three trucks were found at Mauja Majhikola, Sahebganj, illegally mined stones without any mining challan. This was done before freezing the chips or boulders. The searches were conducted on July 25,” the ED said. In this case, also an FIR was registered regarding theft and others.
The agency said the “volume of excessive illegal mining” carried out at the above sites is estimated at 37.5 million cubic feet, undisclosed and hidden. The ED said that the processed value of the mined stone chips or boulders is around Rs 45 crore.
Earlier, the ED had arrested Soren’s aide Pankaj Mishra. Before his arrest, the ED had seized Rs 13.32 crore in cash lying in 50 bank accounts and “unaccounted cash” worth Rs 5.34 crore through illegally operated stone crushers in Sahebganj district.