Jharkhand Ministry Under Scrutiny for Extensive Corruption Network

Jharkhand Ministry Under Scrutiny for Extensive Corruption Network

Enforcement Directorate Arrests Top Aide of Jharkhand Rural Development Minister in Bribery Probe

On Tuesday, the Enforcement Directorate declared that numerous individuals within Jharkhand’s rural development ministry, spanning various levels, purportedly accepted bribes from contractors. The agency stated it arrested Sanjeev Lal, the personal secretary to Alamgir Alam, the Congress legislature party chief and the state’s rural development minister, after he declined to disclose the origin of the Rs 35 crore found at his domestic help’s residence. Lal and his aide were apprehended at 2 am after they failed to cooperate in revealing the source of the significant cash discovered during raids on Monday.

Sanjeev Kumar Lal, secretary of Jharkhand minister

The Enforcement Directorate presented its arguments in a remand note against the accused before a special court in Ranchi on Tuesday.

According to the central investigative agency, Lal was directly involved in collecting “commission” on behalf of “influential persons” and was instrumental in managing tender processes. The alleged bribes received from contractors were systematically distributed to government higher-ups, ED claimed. The money laundering investigation into officials of the state’s rural development ministry commenced in 2019, resulting in the arrest of Veerendra Kumar Ram, the former chief engineer of the ministry, last year.

According to the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Ram received a “commission” of 1.5%, which was then shared among his superiors and politicians. The agency suggested the potential need to question the minister responsible for rural development. Ram, who is currently in judicial custody, informed the agency that Sanjeev Lal, the secretary to the rural development minister, was directly involved in collecting commissions.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) revealed that Lal collected the mentioned commission through intermediaries, with one instance reported by V K Ram indicating that crores of rupees in commission were transferred to Lal in September 2022. This marks the second occasion in under six months where a senior Congress figure has been connected to significant cash discoveries. Previously, in December of the previous year, Income Tax authorities confiscated over Rs 350 crore in Odisha from a distillery company linked to Congress Rajya Sabha MP Dhiraj Sahu.

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