Saumya Chaurasia, a deputy secretary-rank officer posted in Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel’s office, was closely associated with the main accused in the alleged coal levy racket, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has said.
A special court for the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) cases on Friday sent Chaurasia in four-day ED custody after her arrest by the central agency.
There was a lot of digital and other evidence to show that a very strong association existed between her and main accused Suryakant Tiwari, the ED said in its remand application on Friday.
Chaurasia directly and indirectly received large amounts of money from Tiwari and used it to acquire benami properties in the name of her family members, the agency alleged.
Tiwari collected around Rs 500 crore and it was used to make “party/election-related expenditure by MLAs,” it said.
A large part of such money was invested in properties and coal washeries as part of money laundering process, the ED alleged.
The ED in October carried out multi-city raids in the state and arrested IAS officer Sameer Vishnoi, coal trader Suryakant Tiwari, his uncle Laxmikant Tiwari and another coal businessman Sunil Agrawal in the case.
The money laundering investigation was launched after the ED took cognisance of an Income Tax department complaint.
It pertained to “a massive scam in which an illegal levy of Rs 25 per tonne was being extorted for every tonne of coal transported in Chhattisgarh by a cartel involving senior bureaucrats, businessmen, politicians and middlemen”, the ED had said.
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