VIJAY DEO JHA
Ranchi, Aug 5: The officer of the Khunti district police who had investigated the MNREGA scam had pointed out that there was specific evidence of involvement of the then DC Pooja Singhal in the defalcation of the government funds. The officer had even mentioned these facts in the case diary.
But under mysterious circumstances the role of Pooja Singhal was not investigated. She was also given a clean chit in a departmental inquiry during the Raghubar Das government.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) which arrested Pooja Singhal on the charge of money laundering has mentioned this fact in its chargesheet. The then DSP (headquarter) Patanjali Mishra had investigated MNREGA related cases. A total of 16 FIRs were lodged related to a combined embezzlement of Rs.18.06 Crore.
Pooja Singhal was Deputy Commissioner in Khunti district during the period 16th February 2009 to 19th July 2010 and she was the principal authority for sanctioning funds for different development projects.
Pooja Singhal used two PAN cards and several bank accounts to accommodate slush money
The ED has claimed that Pooja Singhal was found to be depositing huge amounts of cash deposits during the said period in several accounts in different banks. She was keeping two PAN numbers in her name i.e. ARZPS2447R and AMQPS9964B. The ED has stated that it was found during the investigation that she used to deposit cash in those accounts and convert the cash to demand draft and then purchased insurance policies for long tenures and prematurely close the policies and utilize the proceeds towards several investments including Pulse Superspeciality Hospital beneficially owned by her and her family. It stated that Pooja Singhal and her husband could not explain the source of such a huge deposit.
Bank accounts of husband Abhishek Jha witnessed huge deposit after marriage
The ED has stated that she was married to Abhishek Jha in 2011 and it was found that after marriage Abhishek Jha made substantial cash deposits in his accounts. These were the proceeds of crime generated by Pooja Singhal during her tenure as DC of Khunti and Palamu. The ED has said that in their bank accounts Rs. 1.43 Crore cash was deposited. But their Income Tax Returns for the respective financial years did not reflect the source of the high amount.
Abhishek Jha laundered proceeds of the crime
The ED has stated that Abhishek Jha further laundered proceeds of crime deposited in his account in the health sector. He made a payment of Rs 43 lakh to M/s Usha Construction to purchase the first floor of Orchid Building. Here he later started Pulse Diagnostic and Imaging Centre with the help of the proceeds of crime generated by Pooja Singhal. The agency claimed that M/s Pulse Sanjeevani Healthcare Pvt. Ltd was used to legalize the proceeds of crime. Abhishek Jha assisted Pooja Singhal in money laundering by involving himself in the concealment, possession, acquisition, use, projection and claiming the untainted money.
Chartered Accountant Suman Kumar Singh helped them in laundering
About Suman Kumar Singh the agency has claimed that he was also a beneficiary of closure proceeds received by Pooja Singhal. The slush money was invested for the purchase of land in the name of Radhey Shyam Fireworks LLP. In this company Pawan Kumar (brother of Suman Kumar Singh) and Pooja Singhal’s mother Kamlesh Singhal were partners. An amount Rs 1.33 Crore was given in cash for it which was part of proceeds of crime which Suman Kumar Singh collected and accumulated on behalf of Pooja Singhal. The ED said that Suman Kumar Singh has been filing IT returns of Pooja Singhal since 2012 and managing her finance. Besides, he was also auditor for M/s Pulse Sanjeevani Healthcare Pvt. Ltd. and he was collecting proceeds of crime on her instruction in the form of cash from several individuals and entities. He made payment on behalf of Pooja Singhal to several persons such builder Alok Sawaragi of Panchwati Builder whom he gave Rs 3 Crore for purchasing land for Pulse Hospital. Suman Kumar Singh invested proceeds of crime in various properties.
Many digital evidence destroyed during raid by accused
The ED has disclosed before the court that during searches on the associates of Pooja Singhal, many incidents were reported where the accused destroyed data in digital devices.