According to the reports, more than Rs 19 crore in cash has been seized from the residence and official premises of IAS Pooja Singhal (Jharkhand) by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). This all happened when the agency started the search operation for cases connected to corruption of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme funds.
On Friday around 5 AM, the Enforcement Directorate seized a total amount of 19.31 crore. Around 17 crores out of the total recovered money have been seized from the property of Suman Kumar, the Ranchi-based Chartered Accountant and Financial Advisor of Pooja Singhal. Moreover, Rs 1.8 crore was seized from another location in the city.
As per the reports, CA’s brother is also linked to this case and he has been detained. Further, ED officers said that besides the cash, incriminating documents were also found and seized.
According to the complaint against Pooja Singhal, she illegally permitted the operation of Pachadumar sand ghat. As she didn’t seek wildlife clearance from the National Board of Wildlife.
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Who Is IAS Pooja Singhal?
Indian Administrative Service Officer, IAS Pooja Singhal Batch is 2000. Presently, she is a secretary of the Jharkhand mining department. Additionally, a 2000-batch Jharkhand-cadre IAS officer holds the position of managing director of Jharkhand State Mineral Development Corporation Limited. However, before this posting, she was a Deputy Commissioner in Khunti and Palamu. Also, worked as Agriculture Secretary in the BJP government. Besides, Chartered Accountant Suman Kumar who is taken into custody is connected with IAS Pooja Singhal and her family too.
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Who Is IAS Pooja Singhal Husband?
As per the sources, IAS Pooja Singhal husband is Abhishek Jha. Her husband is the chairman and MD of Pulse Sanjeevani Healthcare Private Hospital, Ranchi. He is the son of Kameshwar Jha, who was a government official in Bihar. Kameshwar Jha was killed while on duty. Moreover, Pooja Singhal’s prior husband was IAS officer Rahul Purwar.
What is IAS Pooja Singhal’s Salary?
Pooja Singhal’s current salary can be known because the basic per month salary of an IAS officer begins at Rs 56,100, as the government guidelines suggest. And, this doesn’t include allowances like TA, DA, and HRA. For Cabinet Secretary, the salary goes up to Rs 2,50,000. IAS Singhal has given 22 years of service, so it is clear that she is earning a good amount.
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ED Raids in 5 States Including IAS Pooja Singhal Properties
On Friday, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) raided over 15 locations in five states across the country including Jharkhand. Searching was done due to connection in cases of corruption and embezzlement of MGNREGA scheme funds of Rs 18 Crore.
To clarify, the search operation has been conducted in Bihar, West Bengal, Punjab, and Jharkhand. During raids, several alleged documents related to Singhal were found. Moreover, a raid was conducted at over 25 locations related to Singhal and his associates.
Moreover, investigation officers called three counting machines to count the cash. In which, big bundles of Rs 2000, Rs 500, Rs 200, and Rs 100 notes were seized. During this whole investigation, Singhal’s father-in-law has also been arrested from Madhubani, Bihar.
Know The Whole Story
During her tenure as Deputy Commissioner in Chatra, Khunti, Singhal faced many other allegations of irregularities. While serving as a DC in Palamu, Singhal allegedly transferred over 80 acres of land to a private company for mining work.
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The investigation was started due to a case registered five years ago (2017). It was registered by the Anti-Corruption Bureau. Though the search operation started when Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren charges for allegedly alloting a mining lease under him and a plot to his wife.
Just a day before the raid, the Election Commission issued a notice to Dumka MLA Basant Soren, a brother of Jharkhand CM. Also, EC sent a notice to Chief Minister on the charge issues previously.
At that time, Pooja Singhal was not there for any stand. So, Hemant Soren dismissed the raids calling them ‘Empty threats’. He added, “When BJP can’t counter you in a political battle, then they take help of this machinery.”
In 2017, Anti-Corruption Bureau filed against Ram Binod Prasad Sinha, who is the section officer and junior engineer of Kunti, Jharkhand. He was alleged for misappropriated 18 crores of MGNREGA funds in 2008 and 2011. Accordingly, ED filed two Prosecution Complaints against Sinha in 2020. Also, mentioned assets of more than 4.8 crores of Sinha.
Further, after the Sinha under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. He claimed, “I used to pay 5 percent of the cost of an MGNREGA project to the commission to his engineering section seniors. And, 5 percent to the administration side, including the DC’s office in Khunti.”
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Moreover, he added that the commission payment was not direct to DC. Five percent was given for district administration. At that time, Pooja Singhal was the DC of Khunti District. Even after this investigation during the tenure of Singhal as Deputy Commissioner no strict actions were taken against Sinha.
Meanwhile, IAS Pooja Singhal’s brother Sidharth Singhal, Director at Pulse Super Speciality Hospital is under ED. As he is also linked to the misappropriation of MGNREGA funds.
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