New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday seized over Rs 6 crore cash and several documents linked to illegal banking transactions from the residential premises of land mafia Bhupinder Singh Honey in the day-long raids.
The raids were conducted at nearly a dozen places in Punjab in connection with an alleged illegal sand mining case, sources said. The federal agency made the recovery during raids in poll-bound Punjab as part of a money-laundering probe against the 'sand mafia' and companies linked to alleged illegal sand mining in the border state.
The raids, which started around 7.30 am, were conducted at places including Chandigarh and Mohali and the action was undertaken under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), said ED officials.
The ED searched the residence and office premises of the suspects that include premises linked to sand mafia Bhupinder Singh Honey, who reportedly is a relative of Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and had allegedly floated a firm named Punjab Realtors to get sand mining contracts.
Sources said that the raiding team of the ED recovered over Rs 6 crore during searches at Honey's residence Homeland Heights Society in Mohali's Sector-70 and other places. However, there is no official word on it.
The officials said that the raids were conducted by ED's different teams simultaneous. The ED has refused to connect any political links in the case.
The ED suspects that black money was invested in getting a contract of the sand mine. The company floated, sources say, is of very small scale and unlikely to get a contract worth crores.
The ED action is learnt to be initiated after taking cognisance of a 2018 FIR of the Punjab Police against some companies and individuals alleged to be involved in illegal sand mining in the state.
Punjab Police had registered the case in 2018 regarding illegal sand mining and Section 420 was later added to the FIR. The ED took over the case to probe under PMLA.
In the initial investigation, one Kudratdeep Singh's name had surfaced and when the ED questioned him it came to the fore that the main facilitator was Honey.
Sources in the ED said the agency is probing whether the CM's name was used to do illegal mining.
With the Assembly election in Punjab slated for February 20, the timing of raids is all set to rise the electioneering mercury in the state.
Voting for 117 assembly seats in Punjab is slated for February 20.
Notably, former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh after quitting from his post and the Congress party, had publicly alleged that the party leaders were involved in illegal sand mining.
"As far as the issue of illegal sand mining was concerned the offenders, unfortunately, were the substantive bulk of Congress MLAs and Ministers, including an overwhelming number in the current government," he had stated.
The Opposition parties including Shiromani Akali Dal and Aam Aadmi Party have been consistently accusing the Congress leaders of being involved in illegal mining activities that were rampant across the State. (ANI)