Special Court In Chhattisgarh Issues Notices To Congress MLAs And Others In Coal Levy Scam Money Laundering Case

Of the 11 accused, nine have received notices from the court, as Sahu and Nikhil Chandrakar were previously arrested in connection with the case.

Enforcement Directorate (ED)

In a significant development in the ongoing investigation of a money laundering case linked to an alleged coal levy scam in Chhattisgarh's Raipur, a special court has issued notices to two Congress MLAs and seven other individuals. They have been summoned to appear before the court on October 25.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) recently filed a second supplementary chargesheet in the case, naming 11 individuals as accused, including Congress legislators Devendra Singh Yadav and Chandradev Prasad Rai, as well as IAS officer Ranu Sahu. Special public prosecutor Saurabh Kumar Pande confirmed this update, PTI reported.

Of the 11 accused, nine have received notices from the court, as Sahu and Nikhil Chandrakar were previously arrested in connection with the case. Among the accused, besides legislators Yadav and Rai, are Congress leaders RP Singh and Vinod Tiwari.

Notably, sections 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) invoked in this case are both cognizable and non-bailable offenses. This necessitates that the nine accused who have not been apprehended yet must secure anticipatory bail, according to Pande. The court could potentially issue bailable or non-bailable warrants against them if they fail to appear during the hearing.

The ED's investigation revolves around an alleged scam wherein an illegal levy of Rs 25 per tonne was allegedly extorted for each tonne of coal transported within Chhattisgarh by a cartel comprising senior bureaucrats, businessmen, politicians, and intermediaries.

The ED, in its second supplementary chargesheet, alleges that Ranu Sahu, who served as the collector of Korba district during the period of the scam, played a role in facilitating the collection of illegal levies from coal transporters and District Mineral Fund (DMF) contracts. It is claimed that Sahu received substantial bribes from these activities.

Devendra Singh Yadav, an MLA from Bhilai Nagar, is alleged to have received around Rs 3 crore in proceeds derived from the coal cartel's illicit activities, which were purportedly used for the Khairagarh bypolls in April 2022, as well as for other political and personal expenses, according to the probe agency's claims.

Chandradev Prasad Rai, the MLA from Bilaigarh, is said to have received Rs 46 lakh for election funding, political expenses, and personal gifts. Meanwhile, Congress leaders Vinod Tiwari and RP Singh are alleged to have received approximately Rs 1.87 crore and Rs 2.01 crore, respectively, for political and personal expenses.

The initial chargesheet in this case was filed on December 9 of the previous year and included the names of IAS officer Sameer Vishnoi, businessman Sunil Agrawal, and Suryakant Tiwari, along with his uncle Laxmikant Tiwari, all of whom had been previously arrested by the ED.