The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday arrested Pankaj Mishra, a close aide of Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, in an alleged illegal mining case. However, there is no official confirmation from the ED on Mishra’s arrest.
“Mishra was questioned by the ED on Tuesday and later taken to Kotwali police station where he would be locked up during the night. He will be produced in a court on Wednesday,” the source said.
On July 15, the ED said: “Cash totalling Rs 11.88 crore generated from illegal mining in Jharkhand lying in various bank accounts has been seized. With this, the total seizure of cash and bank balance linked with illegal mining stands at Rs 36.58 crore.”
Cash was also seized from the bank accounts of Dahoo Yadav, an associate of Mishra. The ED had earlier conducted searches at 19 locations in Jharkhand’s Sahibganj, Barnet, Rajmahal, Mirza Chauki and Barharwa areas, seizing documents and Rs 5.34 crore “unaccounted cash” on July 7.
Barhet is the Chief Minister constituency and Pankaj Mishra is CM’s representative.
The ED acted months after arresting senior IAS officer Pooja Singhal in connection with the MGNREGA scam in Khunti district in 2009-10 when she was the deputy commissioner there.
On May 3 last year, a woman police officer Roopa Tirkey allegedly committed suicide in the Sahebganj district. Turkey was investigating the case against Pankaj Mishra. Backed by the BJP, Turkey’s family filed a petition in the Jharkhand High Court seeking a CBI probe into the matter, which was granted in September last year.