New Delhi, Feb 8 (PTI) The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday said it seized Indian and foreign currency worth about Rs 1.20 crore, gold and "voluminous" documents during raids against Congress leader and former Uttarakhand minister Harak Singh Rawat and his close associates as part of a money laundering investigation.
An official statement issued by the federal agency did not specify what was recovered from where.
The searches were launched on Wednesday and a total of 17 locations in Uttarakhand, Delhi and Haryana were covered in a case against Birendra Singh Kandari, a "close associate" of Rawat, Indian Forest Service (IFoS) officer and former DFO Kishan Chand and former forest range officer Brij Bihari Sharma, the central agency said in a statement.
Rawat, 63, is a former forest minister of the state. He had quit the BJP ahead of the 2022 Uttarakhand assembly polls and joined the Congress party.
The ED said its investigation against these people stems from two different FIRs registered in the state.
The first is based on a Uttarakhand Police FIR against Kandari and others.
Kandari, a close associate of Rawat, and Narendra Kumar Walia hatched a "criminal conspiracy" with Rawat and got registered two powers of attorney for a land, for which a court had cancelled the sale deed, the agency alleged.
They illegally sold this land, on which the Doon Institute of Medical Science, Dehradun was constructed under Shrimati Poorna Devi Memorial Trust, to Rawat's wife Deepti Rawat and one Laxmi Singh, it said.
The second instance stems from an FIR registered by the vigilance department of the state government against Sharma, Chand and others under various sections of the IPC, Forest Conservation Act, Wild Life (Protection) Act and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Kishan Chand, the then divisional forest officer (DFO) and Sharma, the forest ranger of that time, in a criminal conspiracy with other bureaucrats and Rawat, managed to publish a tender of a higher amount than the authorised financial powers and was not as per the rules/guidelines of the state government, the ED claimed.
They also "fabricated" documents and "misused" the funds under the head of Tiger Conservation Foundation and Campa head and caused a wrongful loss worth crores of rupees to the Uttarakhand government, it said.
They are also alleged to have illegally cut more than 6,000 trees against the authorisation of 163 trees, the ED said.
Chand was suspended along with Sharma for alleged irregularities in the forest department. Chand was arrested in Delhi in December 2022 and in April 2023 he got a conditional bail from the high court.
Cash of about Rs 1.10 crore, foreign currency valued at Rs 10 lakh and 1.3 kgs gold valued at about Rs 80 lakh were seized apart from some bank lockers, digital devices and voluminous documents pertaining to immovable properties, the ED said. PTI NES NB NB