Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Pooja Singhal, the secretary of Jharkhand mining department, has come on the radar of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the money laundering case involving the alleged embezzlement of crores of MNREGA funds in the state. The agency has raided Pooja Singhal’s home, as well as several other locations.
According to reports, the agency seized a total of Rs 19.31 crore in cash from two premises searched on Friday in Ranchi.
A total of Rs 17.51 crore in cash has been recovered from the premises of a Ranchi-based Chartered Accountant-cum-financial advisor whose connections with Pooja Singhal and her family are being investigated.
According to reports, around 1.8 crore in cash has also been recovered from another location in the city.
Who is IAS officer Pooja Singhal?
Pooja Singhal is an IAS officer and secretary of the Department of Mines and Geology of Jharkhand government, posted in Ranchi.
Prior to this, Pooja Singhal was working as Agriculture Secretary in the BJP government.
Pooja Singhal is a 2000 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer and was posted as the deputy commissioner in Khunti district earlier.
IAS Pooja Singhal also serves as the chairman of Jharkhand State Mineral Development Corporation (JSMDC).
IAS Pooja Singhal has faced several serious allegations of financial irregularities during her tenure as Deputy Commissioner in Chatra, Khunti and Palamu districts, media reports suggest.
As Deputy Commissioner of Palamu, Pooja Singhal was accused of transferring nearly 83 acres of land to a private company for mining.
IAS Pooja Singhal is married to Abhishek Jha, the managing director of Pulse Super specialty hospital in Ranchi.
After divorcing IAS officer Rahul Purwar, Pooja Singhal married Abhishek Jha. ED officials are investigating a hideout on Abhishek’s Ratu Road residence.
Pooja Singhal’s brother Sidharth Singhal, who was among the directors of Pulse Super specialty hospital, is also under ED scanner in connection to the alleged embezzlement of MNREGA funds.
Over a crore in cash deposited in Jharkhand IAS officer Pooja Singhal’s account, says ED
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Sunday said that IAS Pooja Singhal and her husband received cash deposits totaling Rs 1.43 crore when she was charged with irregularities while serving as District Magistrate (DM) in various districts across the state.
The federal agency (ED) also informed a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (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 Chartered Accountant (CA), Suman Kumar.
Suman Kumar was arrested on Saturday for alleged money laundering in connection with an MGNREGA money fraud case.
The Enforcement Directorate arrested Kumar in Ranchi on May 6 after conducting multi-city raids against him, Pooja Singhal, her businessman husband, Abhishek Jha, and others. The special court then sent Kumar to ED custody till May 11.
The ED said it seized over Rs 17.79 crore in cash from the chartered accountant’s home and office.
According to the agency, the total cash seized following these raids is Rs 19.31 crore, with a further seizure made from another location in Ranchi.
Seeking Kumar’s custody, the agency stated in its remand note that the CA was “withholding” information about the source of the cash seized from his home and was not disclosing the “actual owner” of the cash.
The agency alleged in the court document that Singhal, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 2000 batch, used funds that were deposited in “cash” in her bank accounts while she served as DC of three districts during 2007-2013, to purchase life insurance policies.
(With agency input)