Pooja Singhal: Jharkhand government fires mining secretary Pooja Singhal arrested

Jharkhand Mines Secretary Pooja Singal had earlier been arrested and remanded in the custody of ED in a suspected money laundering case, the Jharkhand government suspended on Thursday, an official said. The ED produced him before the Special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Prabhat Kumar Sharma on Tuesday and Wednesday after two days of interrogation by the Central Investigation Agency.

He was sent to Birsa Munda Central Jail in Hotware on Wednesday night after the ED remanded him for five days.

“The government immediately dismissed Pooja Singal under the provisions of the All India Services (Discipline and Appeal Rules, 1969),” the official said.

In response to the arrest, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren said on Wednesday that the state government would “initiate whatever legal action should be taken in this regard”.

He said the alleged irregularities “occurred during the BJP’s tenure and should be investigated.”

He was given a clean chit in 2017 during the BJP rule. All those who gave him a clean chit should be investigated. “You (BJP) force him to do wrong and you (also) give him a clean chit,” the CM said.

The money laundering probe against Singal and others is related to a case where Ram Binod Prasad Sinha, a former junior engineer of the Jharkhand government, was arrested by the agency from West Bengal on June 17, 2020.

He was prosecuted under the PMLA in 2012 on the basis of the State Vigilance Bureau FIR.

The money laundering case against Singal is related to embezzlement of funds from the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in the state.

The ED alleged that irregularities were found in the scheme’s accounts during his tenure as deputy commissioner and district magistrate of Chatra, Khunti and Palamur between 2007 and 2013.

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