Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials on Monday questioned Rajeev Arun Ekka, a former principal secretary to Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren for about 10 hours in Ranchi in connection with a probe into money laundering linked to cases against another IAS officer Pooja Singhal. Ekka is now the secretary of the Panchayati Raj department in Jharkhand government.
Earlier, Ekka had earlier this month sought time after March 24 to appear before the central agency in view of the Jharkhand assembly’s budget session. The last assembly session ended on March 23.
“Ekka appeared before sleuths of the Enforcement Directorate here in connection with a probe into the alleged irregularities in the MGNREGA scheme and money laundering linked to cases against Pooja Singhal,” an official of the central agency said.
Ekka had reached the regional office of the central agency here at about 11 am and was seen leaving at around 9 pm. He did not respond the queries of the media.
The former principal secretary to the CM, who is alleged to have signed official documents at a private place, was removed from the Chief Minister’s Office after charges were brought against him by the opposition.
The agency is also probing Singhal’s role in the alleged irregularities in the mining sector of the state as part of a case filed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) along with the MGNREGA ‘scam’, the ED official said.
The state government had earlier set up a one-member inquiry commission headed by Jharkhand High Court’s former chief justice Vinod Kumar Gupta to probe into the allegations against Ekka.
In view of the “signing of official documents at a private place”, BJP leader and former chief minister Babulal Marandi had written a letter to Chief Secretary Sukhdev Singh earlier this month, seeking a thorough investigation into the alleged involvement of a power broker in the case, besides an engineer in the Police Building Construction Corporation.
Marandi also sought action against Ekka and departmental engineers.
Singhal, a 2000-batch IAS officer and former secretary of the mines department of Jharkhand, was arrested by the ED on May 11 last year on money laundering charges.
The agency had said that it seized unaccounted cash amounting to more than Rs 36 crore linked to alleged illegal mining during investigations in money laundering cases against Singhal and others.
(With PTI input)
Also read- Jharkhand IAS Puja Singhal corruption case: Rs 3 cr recovered in ED raids – details