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Chhattisgarh court sends IAS officer, 2 others to custody in extortion case

A special court sent an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer and two others, including a businessman, to 14-day judicial custody in a money laundering case linked to alleged extortion of money

Gavel, order, judiciary, courts, laws

Press Trust of India Raipur
A special court here on Thursday sent an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer and two others, including a businessman, to 14-day judicial custody in a money laundering case linked to alleged extortion of money from coal and mining transporters in Chhattisgarh.
IAS officer Sameer Vishnoi, businessman Sunil Agrawal and advocate Laxmikant Tiwari were arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on October 13 following their questioning after the agency launched multi-city raids in the state on October 11. The accused were produced before the court of additional district and sessions judge Ajay Singh Rajput on Thursday on expiry of their ED custody, Tiwari's lawyer Faizal Rizvi said. He said the court sent them to 14-day judicial custody and they will be kept in jail. On October 13, the court had allowed custodial interrogation of the trio by the ED for eight days and on October 21 extended their remand for six more days. The trio was arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Vishnoi, a Chhattisgarh cadre IAS officer of the 2009-batch, was earlier posted as chief executive officer (CEO) of the Chhattisgarh Infotech Promotion Society. As per case details, Laxmikant Tiwari, a lawyer from Mahasamund district, is the uncle of coal businessman Suryakant Tiwari (who is stated to be absconding) whose properties were also covered during searches carried out by the ED. The anti-money laundering agency had also carried out searches at Laxmikant Tiwari's residence in Mahasamund town. Sunil Agrawal, director of the Indermani Group, which is involved in coal trading, is said to be closely associated with Suryakant Tiwari. In a release issued on October 14, the ED had claimed a massive scam was taking place in coal transportation in Chhattisgarh, under which a cartel of politicians, officers and others was allegedly running a parallel system of extorting illegal levy, which is generating about Rs 2 crore to Rs 3 crore daily. The probe agency has claimed Vishnoi and his wife were found in possession of unaccounted cash to the tune of Rs 47 lakh and 4 kg gold jewellery. The money laundering investigation was launched after the ED took cognisance of a complaint by the Income Tax department. The ED has claimed the main kingpin of the scam is Suryakant Tiwari and his associates, who entered into a criminal conspiracy to run a parallel system of extorting illegal levy on coal and were doing illegal and unaccounted cash movement. The agency had said it seized unaccounted cash of Rs 4.5 crore, gold jewellery, bullion and other valuables worth around Rs 2 crore during the raids. The ED raids had also covered premises of two other IAS officers, Raigarh collector Ranu Sahu and her husband JP Maurya, who is director of the geology and mining department in the state.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Oct 27 2022 | 5:42 PM IST

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