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Jharkhand govt suspends mining secretary Pooja Singhal arrested in money laundering case

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Jharkhand mining secretary Pooja Singhal

Ranchi, May 12 (PTI) Jharkhand mining secretary Pooja Singhal earlier arrested and remanded to the custody of the ED in a suspected money laundering case was suspended by the Jharkhand government on Thursday, an official said.

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The ED had produced her before a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court of Prabhat Kumar Sharma after two consecutive days of questioning by the central probe agency on Tuesday and Wednesday.

She was sent to Birsa Munda Central Jail, Hotwar, on Wednesday night after the ED took her on remand for five days.

"The government has suspended Pooja Singhal with immediate effect under the provisions of All India Services (Discipline and Appeal Rules, 1969),” the official said.

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Reacting to the arrest, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren had said Wednesday, the state government "will initiate whatever legal action it has to take in this subject".

He said the alleged irregularities "occurred during BJP tenure and that should be probed." It was during the BJP tenure that a clean chit was given to her in 2017. All those who gave her the clean chit should be probed. "You (BJP) make her do the wrong and you (also) give her a clean chit," the CM said.

The money laundering investigation against Singhal and others pertains to a case in which former Jharkhand government junior engineer Ram Binod Prasad Sinha was arrested by the agency on June 17, 2020, from West Bengal.

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He was booked under the PMLA in 2012 on the basis of state vigilance bureau FIRs against him.

The money laundering case against Singhal is linked to alleged embezzlement of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme funds in the state.

The ED had alleged, irregularities were found in the accounts of the scheme while she served as the deputy commissioner and district magistrate of Chatra, Khunti and Palamu between 2007 and 2013.

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