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ED arrests Jharkhand Minister Alamgir Alam in money laundering case

The 70-year-old was taken into custody at the agency’s zonal office here under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act after about six hours of interrogation.

Alamgir AlamRANCHI: The Enforcement Directorate Wednesday arrested Congress leader and Jharkhand Rural Development Minister Alamgir Alam here in a money laundering case, days after a massive cash seizure from premises linked to his aide, official sources said.

The 70-year-old leader was taken into custody at the agency’s zonal office here under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

He was interrogated for about six hours on the second day of questioning, the sources said.

Alam represents the Pakur seat in Jharkhand assembly and is also the parliamentary affairs minister.

He came under the ED radar following the recent arrest of his personal secretary and state administrative service officer Sanjeev Kumar Lal (52) and the latter’s domestic help Jahangir Alam (42) who were raided by the agency on May 6.

The agency seized more than Rs 32 crore cash from a flat linked to them.

The minister had earlier told reporters that he was a “law-abiding” citizen as he sought to distance himself from the activities of Lal, saying he had worked with other ministers of the state government too in the past.

The money laundering investigation pertains to alleged irregularities and payment of “bribes” in the state rural development department.

While seeking the remand of the two arrested persons, the ED had informed a special PMLA court here that Lal collected “commission” on behalf of some influential people and that government officials from “top to bottom” in the rural department are involved in the alleged illegal cash payments nexus.

The total seizure of cash by the ED in this case has been recorded at around Rs 36.75 crore as the agency seized about Rs 3 crore from other locations including Rs 10.05 lakh from Lal’s place and Rs 1.5 crore from a contractor’s place.

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is visiting the state as part of the Lok Sabha poll campaign, reacted to the instant case and told reporters that the BJP government will not allow people’s money to be devoured by Alamgir Alam.

Meanwhile, a doctor from the medical team that examined the health condition of Alam said: “His sugar level is normal while the blood pressure is on the higher side. He is a patient of hypertension. His heart condition is normal.We have prescribed medicines accordingly.”

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