ED arrests ex-Rajasthan health official and son for money laundering

They were produced before a local court on Friday that sent them to 10 days in ED custody

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate on Saturday said it has arrested a former Rajasthan health department official and his son in connection with a money-laundering probe against them linked to a case of alleged possession of disproportionate assets.

It said Mahesh Chanda Sharma, who worked in the Health and Medical Department of the Rajasthan government as a nursing tutor (nursing grade- 2) and was posted in the SMS medical college, and his son Mohit Sharma were arrested under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on Friday in state capital Jaipur.

They were produced before a local court on Friday that sent them to 10 days in ED custody, the agency said in a statement.

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Mahesh Chand Sharma was also a member of the Indian Nursing Council (INC) in Delhi.

“The accused are under custodial interrogation to unearth the illegal assets amassed by Mahesh Chand Sharma using corrupt practices while working as a public servant,” the ED said.

The agency has slapped criminal charges under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against Mahesh Chand Sharma and others based on an FIR and a charge sheet filed against them by the state anti-corruption bureau (ACB).

Sharma, along with an associate, was caught by the Jaipur ACB sometime back while taking a bribe of Rs 5 lakh from a nursing institute instead of including its name (which was deleted earlier) on the website of the Indian Nursing Council, the ED said.

“The ACB investigation established that the accused had amassed an illicit amount of Rs 10.6 crore which was 372 per cent more than his known or legal source of income,” the ED alleged.

The ED, during an investigation, had raided Mahesh Chand Sharma’s residential premises at RAG hospital in Mansarovar, Jaipur and also the premises of his associate Kishan Lal Saini at Naina Vihar in Jaipur’s Sanganer area, it said.

“These searches resulted in the recovery of a large number of incriminating documents including property documents related to several plots, Benami properties and high-value financial transactions etc,” the federal probe agency said.

The agency, in the past, has attached assets of over Rs 12 crore of Mahesh Chand Sharma freezing his agricultural lands in Jaipur, Tonk and Karauli districts of Rajasthan, and 31 plots and houses at various locations in the state capital.

Investigation revealed that Sharma has “accumulated huge money by resorting to corrupt practices and misusing his official position,” the ED had said.

“This money was used for the purchase of agricultural land, residential flats and plots in his name, in the name of his wife and son, company and trust named Safe Infracon Pvt Ltd, Saket Nursing College and RAG trust after layering and integrating the illicit money in the formal financial system to project it as untainted,” it had said earlier.

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