The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has raided many locations related to Pankaj Mishra, an Enforcement Directorate (ED) accused in the illegal mining case on Sahibganj’s Nimbu Pahadi through which Rs 1000 cr were generated illegally according to the ED findings. A 40-member CBI team led by SP raided premises of close aides of Pankaj Mishra in Sahibganj on Thursday morning, December 07.
The CBI teams raided the premises of Mishra’s close associate, Rajesh Yadav, another ED accused who is on the run, along with raiding locations related to Pavitra Yadav, Chotu Yadav and Dahu Yadav. The team recovered many incriminating documents during the raid, according to reported sources. The raids were conducted based on a FIR lodged by ED witness Vijay Hansda.
साहिबगंज: पंकज मिश्रा के घर करीब 1 घंटे से चल रही CBI की छापेमारी। pic.twitter.com/NDSblsYaGQ
— News18 Jharkhand (@News18Jharkhand) December 7, 2023
It’s been learned that the sleuths of the central agency also grilled other members of the family during the raids, which lasted until 3 p.m. in the afternoon. The raids conducted by the CBI are the first of their kind in the case after the agency filed a First Information Report (FIR) based on the findings of a preliminary investigation that was commenced following an order by the Jharkhand High Court in August this year.
According to the reports, the CBI has named Pankaj Mishra, Bachhu Yadav, and Pavitra Yadav along with others, for their alleged involvement in the illegal mining on Nimbu Pahad. Most of the accused named by CBI including Pankaj Mishra, an MLA representative of Chief Minister Hemant Soren, have already been investigated by the ED in a money laundering case pertaining to illegal mining.
The Economic intelligence agency had also conducted raids on more than 25 locations pertaining to the case following which Mishra along with others accused had been arrested in 2022.
Who is Bijay Hansda?
A resident of Sahibganj district, Bijay Hansda, rose to the limelight after he filed a petition in court alleging that for the last two and a half years, stone mafias were carrying out illegal mining in connivance with government officials in Nimbu Pahdi of Sahibganj. In his petition, Hansda further alleged that the accused, including Pankaj Mishra, a close aide of Chief Minister Hemant Soren, were using earthmoving machines and carrying blasts.
Hansda had further alleged that his complaint against Mishra had fallen on deaf ears as no action was initiated against Mishra by the district officials. However, a month after filing the petition, Hansda turned hostile during the hearing of the matter on September 12 and claimed that he never witnessed any illegal mining on Nimbu Pahad and that the accused, Pankaj Mishra, had never misbehaved with him.
Later on, Hansda also travelled to New Delhi to quash the High Court’s order for a preliminary inquiry into the matter by the CBI, though the apex court had then refused to stay the High Court’s order.
Allegation on Naushad Alam
It is pertinent to mention here that the ED officials are also investigating the role of Sahibganj Superintendent of police (SP), Naushad Alam in influencing the EDs witness Bijay Hansda. According to the reports, SP Alam allegedly arranged tickets for Hansda when the latter had travelled to New Delhi in connection with the case.
Alam was grilled by the officials when the former appeared before the agency after receiving a second summons in the case on November 28 of last month. During the course of interrogation, Alam was also reportedly asked to provide the details of his bank accounts and property.
Later on, ED served a third summon to SP, Alam and asked him to appear before the regional office of the agency in Ranchi, on Wednesday, December 06. However, he once again chose not to appear before the ED officials in the citing official reasons.
राँची: SP नौशाद आलम ने ED से माँगी मोहलत। pic.twitter.com/0nOmGyvm76
— News18 Jharkhand (@News18Jharkhand) December 6, 2023
It is to be noted that SP Alam also chose not to appear before the ED officials, citing similar reasons, when he was summoned by the agency on November 22. It’s been reported that Alam informed the ED about his unavailability on Wednesday due to official engagements, seeking more time to appear before the federal agency.