ED arrests Jharkhand IAS officer Pooja Singhal in money laundering case
New Delhi, May 11: The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday arrested Pooja Singhal, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer in connection with a money laundering case. She was questioned for several hours before the arrest.
The 2000-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer has been taken into ED custody under the relevant sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Sources claimed that Singhal was "evasive" in her replies and hence was arrested.
The probe agency will produce her before a local court here seeking her remand. She had arrived at the probe agency's regional office in the Hinoo area of Ranchi around 10:40 am for the second day of questioning. Singhal was at the ED office for about nine hours on Tuesday and her statement was recorded.
The agency arrested chartered accountant Suman Kumar in this case on May 7 after seizing over Rs 17 crore cash from his premises. He is in ED custody till May 11. The ED is probing his alleged links with the IAS officer and her husband.
The agency had claimed, in a remand note presented to the court for Kumar, that Singhal and her husband received "huge" cash deposits -- to the tune of Rs 1.43 crore -- over and above her salary in their accounts, during the period she faced charges of irregularities while being posted as the DM of various districts in the state.
The federal agency also told a special PMLA court in Ranchi that the IAS officer allegedly transferred Rs 16.57 lakh from her "personal account" to those controlled or owned by her CA Kumar.
The agency had briefly questioned her during the raids that were conducted against her, her businessman husband Abhishek Jha and others on May 6 in Jharkhand and few other locations. Her husband had been questioned by the agency and his statement was recorded.
The Enforcement Directorate investigation pertains to a money laundering case in which former junior engineer in the Jharkhand government, Ram Binod Prasad Sinha, was arrested by the agency on June 17, 2020 from West Bengal after he was booked by the agency under the PMLA in 2012 after studying the FIRs of the state vigilance bureau against him.
Sinha was booked by the vigilance bureau under criminal sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) pertaining to cheating and corruption for allegedly defrauding public money and investing it in his own name as well as in the name of his family members while working as junior engineer from April 1, 2008 to March 21, 2011.