The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday said that it has attached 51 immovable properties worth Rs 17.48 crore in the illegal coal levy extortion scam in Chhattisgarh.
The attached properties include 8 benami immovable properties worth Rs 7.57 crore which are owned by Saumya Chaurasia, deputy secretary to Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. The remaining 43 benami properties are beneficially controlled by Suryakant Tiwari.
In the same money laundering investigation, the ED had previously issued a Provisional Attachment Order on December 9, 2022 attaching properties worth Rs 152.31 crore belonging to Suryakant Tiwari, Sameer Vishnoi IAS, Saumya Chaurasia, Chhattisgarh civil service officer, Sunil Agarwal and others.
In total, the ED has attached assets to the tune of approximately Rs 170 crore till now.
The ED initiated the money laundering investigation based on the FIR lodged on the complaint of the Income Tax Department. Searches have been conducted and so far 9 accused have been arrested under the PMLA. All of them are in judicial custody.
The ED investigation has established that proceeds of crime of Rs 540 crore were acquired through this extortion racket. The extortion network was set up with the active connivance and participation of a large number of bureaucrats and higher ups.
The ED is investigating the entire gamut of the extortion racket.