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Jharkhand illegal mining case: ED seizes inland vessel worth Rs 30 crore

New Delhi, July 27 (BPNS) The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has seized an inland vessel namely M.V. Infralink-III in connection with the case pertaining to illegal mining and extortion in Jharkhand, an official said on Wednesday.

The vessel, worth around Rs 30 crore, was allegedly being used by Pankaj Mishra, a close aide of Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren.

It was being operated illegally without having any permit from Sukargarh Ghat, Sahebganj, the agency said, adding that the vessel was seized during a search operation conducted on Tuesday.

“The vessel was being operated at the behest of Rajesh Yadav alias Dahu Yadav in collusion with Pankaj Mishra and others for transporting illegally mined stone chips, stone boulders,” said the official.

The official said that an FIR has been lodged with Muffasil police station against the owner of the vessel under Section 25, 30 of Bengal Ferries Act, and sections 188, 282, 420 of IPC.

This was preceded by the freezing of two illegally operated stone crushers of Maa Amba Stone Works operated by Bishnu Yadav and Pavitra Yadav along with the freezing of three HYVA trucks found at Mauza Majhikola, Sahebganj carrying illegally quarried stone chips and boulders without having any mining challans during a search conducted on July 25 by the ED, said the agency.

In a similar manner, an FIR dated July 26 in this regard has also been lodged under Sections 379 and 414 of IPC at Girwabadi, Sahebganj.

“Besides, one illegal mine situated at Mauza Simaria, Sahebganj operated by Bishnu Yadav and others has been identified. Another mine has been identified at Mauza Demba, Sahebganj where mining has exceeded far beyond the leased area. The quantification of the excess illegal mining done at the above site has been estimated around 37.5 million cubic feet which has remained undeclared and concealed. The processed value of the mined stone chips estimated to be around Rs 45 crore,” said the official.

An ED team is visiting Sahebganj district to conduct a joint survey in conjunction with Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board, District Mining Office, Sahibganj, District forest office, Sahebganj and other officials of the district to identify the beneficiaries of such illegal mining activities and to investigate the proceeds acquired through illegal mining activities.

The ED had arrested Mishra July 19. He was sent to ED’s custody till August 1.

The ED had seized cash amounting to Rs 13.32 crore lying in 50 bank accounts, Rs 5.34 crore unaccounted cash, illegally operated stone crushers and seizure of various incriminating documents belonging to Mishra, Yadav and their associates.

Further investigation in the case is in progress.