On February 20, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted fresh searches at nearly a dozen locations in Chhattishgarh in mining and alleged coal levy scam.
The places searched include residential and office premises of various Congress leaders naming Ram Gopal Agarwal, Girish Devangan, RP Singh, Vinod Tiwari, ad Sunny Agrawal, said sources.
In connection with its ongoing investigation into money laundering related to the alleged coal levy scam in the state, the ED also conducted raids at a number of places in Chhattisgarh, including that of an IAS officer and other locations, last month.
After raiding Sameer Vishnoi, a different state IAS officer, and a few businessmen, the federal investigation agency opened an investigation into this issue in October last year.
An IAS Officer of 2009 Batch, Sameer Vishnoi and his wife were found to be in possession of Rs 47 Lacs of unaccounted cash and Gold jewellery of 4 kg.
The investigation relates to “a massive scam in which illegal levy of Rs 25 was being extorted for every tonne of coal transported in Chhattisgarh by a cartel involving senior bureaucrats, businessmen, politicians and middlemen”, the agency has alleged.
Saumya Chaurasia, deputy secretary to the Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, Vishnoi, coal trader and alleged “main kingpin of the scam” Suryakant Tiwari, his uncle Laxmikant Tiwari and another coal businessman Sunil Agrawal have been arrested in this case till now.
After seizing their properties worth more than Rs 150 crore in December of last year, the ED claimed in a statement that Chaurasia, Vishnoi, and other coal traders allegedly connected to them “used” their relatives to create “benami” assets.
The agency alleged that a “grand conspiracy” was hatched in the natural resources-rich state to perpetrate a coal levy ‘scam’ in which Rs 540 crore has been “extorted” over the last two years.
The money laundering case stems from an Income Tax department complaint registered following the taxman’s raids in June 2022.