A Special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) Court in Ranchi on Saturday rejected the bail plea of Pankaj Mishra, the MLA representative of Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, who was arrested by ED in an illegal mining case. The ED has filed a Prosecution Complaint under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 before a special court in Jharkhand’s capital Ranchi against Pankaj Mishra, Bachhu Yadav and Prem Prakash.
The Enforcement Directorate arrested Pankaj Mishra on July 19, while Bachhu Yadav and Prem Prakash were arrested on August 4 and August 25 respectively. During the investigation, 47 searches were conducted throughout India on several dates that resulted in the seizure of cash amounting to Rs 5.34 crore, freezing of bank balances amounting to Rs 13.32 crore, freezing of an inland vessel MV Infralink-III, reg. No- WB 1809, five stone crushers, and two Hyva trucks besides the seizure of incriminating documents along with two AK 47 assault rifles.
The ED arrested Pankaj Mishra on July 19, while Bachhu Yadav and Prem Prakash were arrested on August 4 and August 25 respectively. The accused persons arrested so far are currently in judicial custody. The ED had initiated its money laundering investigation on the basis of a First Information Report registered by Barharwa Police Station, Sahebganj under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, against Pankaj Mishra and others.
Later on, several FIRs regarding illegal mining were lodged under IPC, Explosive Substances Act, and Arms Act which were then taken into the ambit of scheduled offences. So far, the ED has identified the Proceeds of Crime relating to illegal mining to the tune of more than Rs 1,000 crore in this case.
Notably last month, the Enforcement Directorate said before the special PMLA Court that Pankaj Mishra, being the MLA representative of Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, enjoyed political clout and exercised considerable control over the illegal mining businesses as well as the inland ferry services in the state’s Sahebganj and its adjoining areas through his accomplices. “PMLA investigation revealed that Pankaj Mishra, who enjoys political clout, being the MLA representative of the Chief Minister from Barhait, Sahebganj, Jharkhand controls the illegal mining businesses as well as inland ferry services in Sahebganj and its adjoining areas through his accomplices,” the ED said in a statement.
“He exercises considerable control over the mining of stone chips and boulders as well as installation and operations of several crushers, set up across various mining sites in Sahebganj.” Proceeds of crime amounting to Rs 42 crore acquired by Pankaj Mishra have been identified till date, said the ED.