ED arrests IAS officer Pooja Singhal in Jharkhand money laundering case

Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Pooja Singhal was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday in a money laundering case. He was interrogated for several hours before his arrest.

What is the matter?

The Enforcement Directorate probe against Pooja Singhal and others pertains to a money laundering case in which Ram Binod Prasad Sinha, a former junior engineer in the Jharkhand government, was arrested by the agency from West Bengal on June 17, 2020. In 2012 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

Ram Binod Prasad Sinha was accused of duping public money and investing in his own name as well as that of his family members between April 1, 2008, and March 21, 2011.

The agency had earlier said that the said funds were earmarked for execution of government projects under MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) in Khunti district.

The accused told the ED that “he paid five percent commission (out of fraud) to the district administration.”

During this period, the ED alleged, charges of “irregularities” were leveled against Pooja Singhal while she served as the Deputy Commissioner/District Magistrate of Chatra, Khunti and Palamu between 2007 and 2013.

CA Suman Kumar has arrested in this case on May 7 after seizure of over Rs 17 crore in cash from his premises. He is in ED custody till May 11.

The ED is probing the IAS officer and her alleged relationship with her husband.

The agency has claimed that Singhal and her husband got a “huge” cash deposit of Rs 1.43 crore – in excess of their salary – in their accounts.

The ED also told a special PMLA court in Ranchi that the IAS officer allegedly transferred Rs 16.57 lakh from his “personal account” to people controlled or owned by his CA Kumar.