ED seizes Rs. 266 Cr. assets in Ranchi land scam; Arrests several including former Chief Minister

Ranchi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached tainted land lots worth Rs. 266 crore in the Ranchi land scam.

In connection with the Bhanu Pratap Prasad and Others case, the agency arrested Priya Ranjan Sahay, Irshad Akhtar, Antu Tirkey, Bipin Singh, and Afsar Ali, who has been remanded to ED custody until April 22.

Md. Saddam Hussain, another defendant, is in ED custody until April 20. The arrests were made on charges of forging, tampering with, and fabricating land records, altering the nature of non-saleable lands protected under the CNT Act, which safeguards property rights of indigenous and marginalized populations.

Former Chief Minister Hemant Soren, Chhavi Ranjan, IAS (Ex-DC, Ranchi), Bhanu Pratap Prasad (Revenue Sub-Inspector), Amit Kumar Agarwal, Prem Prakash, and others have also been arrested by the ED. Three prosecution complaints have been filed in the land scam investigations.

The ED has submitted its findings, including details of the land scam, to the Jharkhand government via 14 references under section 66(2) of PMLA.

The investigation revealed the involvement of officials from the Land Revenue Department in Ranchi and Kolkata, and alleged that Hemant Soren illegally owned some of the falsified and forged lands of the accused individuals.

Hemant Soren and Bhanu Pratap Prasad were arrested for purchasing, owning, and concealing proceeds of crime related to an 8.8-acre property in Bariatu, Ranchi. The ED provisionally attached the property valued at Rs. 31 crore.

Saddam Hussain was arrested on April 9 for forging and falsifying land papers. The ED is investigating money laundering in five land frauds with similar methods based on various FIRs from the Jharkhand and Kolkata Police against several individuals, including government officials.

The investigation revealed a syndicate involved in tampering with Ranchi and Kolkata land records, forging land papers, and selling parcels based on fraudulent records. The ED conducted 51 searches and nine surveys, resulting in the seizure of evidence such as forged seals, land deeds, records of Proceeds of Crime distribution, forgery photos, and evidence of bribery to government officials.

The raids recovered Rs. 1.25 crore in cash and froze Rs. 3.56 crore in bank accounts.

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