The ED arrests an IAS officer and two others in connection with a money laundering investigation in Chhattisgarh

As part of an investigation into money laundering, the Enforcement Directorate arrested IAS officer Sameer Vishnoi from the Chhattisgarh cadre as well as two other individuals on Thursday.

It was also reported that businessman Sunil Agrawal of the Indramani group and Laxmikant Tiwari, uncle of the “absconding” businessman Suryakant Tiwari, were taken into custody by the federal agency in Raipur, the state capital.

Under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the three individuals were arrested and are to be brought before a local court, where the ED will seek their further custody.

A member of the 2009 batch of the Indian Administrative Service, Vishnoi is currently the CEO of the Chhattisgarh Infotech Promotion Society. A few others, as well as him, were questioned by the agency on Wednesday at its Raipur office.

An investigation into alleged illegal levy extorted from coal and mining transporters in Chhattisgarh by a purported nexus of government officials, businessmen, and private entities resulted in multiple raids conducted by the agency in Chhattisgarh on October 11.

Ranu Sahu, a senior IAS officer and the district collector for the Raigarh district, was not available during the raids that began on Tuesday.

The agency has been informed that Sahu is undergoing medical treatment and has assured cooperation.

Sources within the ED reported that the IAS officer of the 2010 batch has not yet reported to the agency’s Raipur office despite clear instructions.

The agency has seized a total of Rs 4 crore during the latest searches. The money laundering case stems from a complaint and charge sheet filed by the Income Tax Department regarding these alleged instances of levy extortion.

In response to the ED raids, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said probe agencies should not be “abused” for political gain or defame the state government, its officials and politicians.

On Wednesday, Raman Singh, the former chief minister of Chhattisgarh and a leading BJP leader, alleged that Baghel is an ATM of Sonia Gandhi and that a levy of Rs 25 per tonne was being collected for coal transportation in the state.

Singh has been requested to apologize to Baghel for his remarks.

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