New Delhi: Bhupinder Singh alias Honey, the arrested nephew of Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, has “accepted” that he received Rs 10 crore cash in lieu of facilitating sand mining operations and transfer or posting of officials in the border state, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) claimed in a statement on Monday.
He was taken into custody by the federal probe agency in Jalandhar on February 3 as part of its money laundering investigation into alleged sand mining operations in Punjab.
Honey is the son of Channi’s sister-in-law and he is in ED custody till Tuesday.
The agency had conducted raids against Honey and others on January 18 and seized about Rs 7.9 crore cash from his premises and another about Rs 2 crore cash from a linked person identified as Sandeep Kumar.
The agency said in a statement that it has recorded the statements of Kudratdeep Singh, Bhupinder Singh (Honey), Honey’s father Santokh Singh and Sandeep Kumar during the searches and it was “established” that the seized Rs 10 crore “belonged to Bhupinder Singh s/o Santokh Singh.”
“Further, Bhupinder Singh accepted that he received the seized cash in lieu of facilitation in sand mining operations and transfer/postings of officials,” the ED claimed.
It said Honey was issued summons for his personal appearance before the agency on February 3 along with some documents.
“In response, he appeared and tendered his statement, wherein he, inter-alia, stated that he is involved in the mining related activities, but took an evasive approach when confronted with incriminating data,” it said.
Honey, Kudratdeep Singh and Sandeep Kumar are stated to be the directors of a company called Providers Overseas Consultants Pvt Ltd that was raided by the ED last month in poll-bound Punjab.
Single phase assembly polls will be held in the state on February 20 and Channi has been declared as the Congress chief ministerial candidate by party leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday.
The counting of votes is slated to be held on March 10 along with four other states.
The money laundering case was filed by the ED in November last year after taking cognisance of a Punjab Police (Rahon police station, Shaheed Bhagat Singh (SBS) Nagar) FIR of 2018 that pressed charges under various sections of the IPC and that under the Mines and Minerals (Regulation of Development) Act, 1957 to probe allegations of illegal sand mining.
In this police FIR, the ED said, it was mentioned that a team comprising officials of mining department, civil administration and police made a surprise check on in March 2018 based on a complaint received at the Rahon police station regarding illegal sand mining.
“Consequently, it was found that several mines were being excavated by various machines and mining was being carried out beyond the designated area,” he said.
“Accordingly, several tippers/trucks, porcelain machines, JCB machines etc. were captured and seized by the investigating team. The seized tipper or trucks were also found to be overloaded with sand,” the ED quoted the police FIR.
The seized weighment slips having office stamps had not been issued by the office concerned and were forged. Subsequently, the mining operation at Malikpur mining site (belonging to Kudratdeep Singh) and the approval of weighment slips were stopped by the team, it said.
As per the FIR, the ED said, apart from Malikpur, illegal mining activities were also carried out at Burjtahl Das, Barsal, Lalewal, Mandala and Khosa.
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