The Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday conducted fresh searches at multiple locations in Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh as part of its ongoing money laundering investigation into an illegal coal levy case, official sources said. The investigation relates to "a massive scam in which illegal levy of Rs 25 was being extorted for every tonne of coal transported in Chhattisgarh by a cartel involving senior bureaucrats, businessmen, politicians and middlemen", the agency had earlier said.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had said an amount of at least Rs 540 crore was "extorted" over the last two years. Premises related to those allegedly linked to Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee treasurer Ramgopal Agrawal and arrested coal businessman Sunil Agarwal, besides a few others, in state capital Raipur and in Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh were searched, the official sources said.
Nine people, including state administrative service officer Saumya Chaurasia, coal trader Suryakant Tiwari, his uncle Laxmikant Tiwari and Chhattisgarh-cadre Indian Administrative Service officer Sameer Vishnoi, have been arrested till now in the case by the ED.