The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested an alleged middleman identified as Prem Prakash in connection with its ongoing money-laundering probe into an illegal mining and extortion case in Jharkhand, officials said on Thursday.
On Wednesday, two AK-47 assault rifles and cash were recovered from his house during a day-long search operation following which the ED informed the local police in this connection.
Besides Jharkhand, the raids were also conducted at Tamil Nadu, Bihar and in Delhi-NCR.
Pankaj Mishra, a close aide of Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, was arrested by the ED on July 19. During his questioning, the ED gathered a lot of inputs following which raids were conducted on Wednesday.
The ED had recently seized one inland vessel worth Rs 30 crore, namely M.V.Infralink- III, which was allegedly being used by Mishra.
“The said inland vessel was being operated illegally without any permit from Sukargarh Ghat, Sahebganj. The vessel was being operated at the behest of Rajesh Yadav alias Dahu Yadav in collusion with Pankaj Mishra and others for transporting illegally mined stone chips and stone boulders,” the ED official had said.
The official said that an FIR was lodged in this respect with Muffasil police station against the owner of the vessel MV INFRALINK-III under Section 25, 30 of Bengal Ferries Act, and sections 188, 282, 420 of IPC.
This was preceded by freezing of two illegally operated stone crushers of MaaAmba Stone Works operated by Bishnu Yadav and Pavitra Yadav along with freezing of three HYVA trucks found at Mauza Majhikola, Sahebganj carrying illegally quarried stone chips and boulders without having any mining challans.
An FIR in this regard was lodged under Section 379, 414 of IPC at Girwabadi, Sahebganj police station.
“Besides, one illegal mine situated at Mauza Simaria, Sahebganj operated by Bishnu Yadav and others has been identified. Another mine has been identified at Mauza Demba, Sahebganj where mining has exceeded far beyond the leased area. The quantification of the excess illegal mining done at the above site has been estimated around 37.5 million cubic feet, which has remained undeclared and concealed. The processed value of the mined stone chips is estimated to be around Rs 45 crore,” the official had said.