The Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested Md Ezhar Ansari under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in connection with the coal linkage misuse case, an official statement said on January 17.
Following his arrest on January 16, Ansari was produced before the Special PMLA Court, Ranchi, on January 17. The court has granted ED custody for six days, it said. The arrest came following an FIR registered by the Jharkhand police against truck driver Sayyaid Salmani (who works for Ezhar Ansari) and others under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.
Jharkhand Police had filed the chargesheet some time ago under the various IPC sections and the Coal Mines Act.
The case relates to illegally transported coal to the tune of 19 tonnes. The truck used was also impounded by the police, as per the statement. “ED investigation revealed that Ansari has misused the coal linkage policy under which subsidised coal used to be allotted to small and medium enterprises (SME) for captive consumption.
Around 86568 metric tonnes of coal with a market value of Rs 71 crore were allotted to 13 (thirteen) such SME firms in Ezhar Ansari. However, instead of using it for captive consumption, Ezhar Ansari diverted and sold the coal in the open market and generated an equal amount of proceeds from crime.”
“Further investigation revealed that these 13 firms and entities are non-operational or shell entities. Earlier, during searches conducted on March 3, 2023, at the premises linked to Ezhar Ansari, proceeds of crime to the tune of Rs 3.58 crore were found and seized along with much incriminating digital and documentary evidence,” as per the statement.
The official press note further stated that the ED investigation has also revealed that the accused person has acquired huge proceeds of crime by selling such coal (at a subsidised rate) at a higher price in open coal Mandi of Varanasi and Dhanbad and also invested the proceeds of crime in immovable properties.
“An investigation indicated that instead of such a subsidised coal allotment, Ezhar Ansari used to give bribes and commissions to some public servants,” the statement further stated.
“During the investigation, repeated summonses were issued to him under Section 50 of the PMLA, 2002 but he neither appeared nor submitted any reply to ED. On January 16, the ED conducted a search on three premises at Hazaribagh linked to him and arrested him from Hazaribagh only,” it said.
Further investigation is underway.
(with inputs from ANI)