Muscleman linked to Hemant Soren’s aide sent to ED custody

Ranchi: A special PMLA court in Ranchi on Friday sent Bachhu Yadav, a ‘muscleman’ linked to a political representative of Chief Minister Hemant Soren, to six-day Enforcement Directorate custody as part of a money-laundering probe in an alleged illegal mining and extortion scam in Jharkhand.

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Bacchu Yadav was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday.

He is “one of the musclemen of Pankaj Mishra (a political aide of Soren) and he is involved in activities related to illegal mining and its transportation on a large-scale in association with Pankaj Mishra,” the central agency said in a statement.

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“During investigation it was found that Bacchu Yadav is a habitual criminal and there are several cases registered against him regarding attempt to murder, extortion, threatening, possession of illegal arms etc. in Sahibganj area,” it added.

Premises linked to Bacchu Yadav were raided last month.

Bachhu Yadav is also linked to Rajesh Yadav alias Dahu Yadav, another accused in the case and an aide of Pankaj Mishra, who has gone underground since the Enforcement Directorate initiated action in the matter.

Mishra was arrested by the ED in this case on July 19 and is currently in judicial custody.

The ED probe began in the case after the agency raided Mishra and his alleged associates on July 8, covering 19 locations in Sahibganj, Barhet, Rajmahal, Mirza Chauki and Barharwa in Jharkhand, in the case linked to alleged instances of illegal mining and extortion in the state.

The searches were launched after the ED filed a PMLA case in March against Mishra and others, alleging that he “illegally grabbed or amassed huge assets in his favour”.

Late last month, the ED seized an inland water vessel worth Rs 30 crore in connection with its probe.

The agency had said in a statement the vessel was being “operated illegally, without having any permit from Sukargarh Ghat in Sahibganj (Jharkhand)”.

The vessel was being operated at the behest of Rajesh Yadav alias Dahu Yadav in collusion with Pankaj Mishra and others for transporting illegally mined stone chips and stone boulders,” the ED had said.

Soon after the July 19 raids, the ED had seized funds of Rs 13.32 crore lying in 50 bank accounts.

“The evidence collected during the course of the investigation, including the statements of various persons, digital evidence and documents, revealed that the seized cash/bank balance is derived from illegal mining being rampantly done in the Sahibganj area, including the forest area,” the federal probe agency had said.

It said it was probing a trail of Rs 100 crore of “proceeds of crime” generated from illegal mining operations in the state.

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