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Tainted Chhattisgarh IAS officer, two others sent to 14 day judicial custody

They were arrested on October 13 after interrogation of more than 20 hours by the ED teams comprising some top ranking officers.

Statesman News Service | Raipur |

Chhattisgarh IAS officer: A lower court sent Chhattisgarh IAS officer Samir Vishnoi along with two others who were arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) early this month to 14 day judicial custody in jail.

Samir Vishnoi, coal trader Sunil Agrawal, and Laxmikant Tiwari were produced in the court of Addition Sessions Judge today after completing 14 day custody of ED. The court sent them to 14-day judicial custody. ED which is the prosecuting agency did not oppose their judicial custody, however it opposed Sunil Agrawal’s plea to allow him to transfer power of attorney to his wife.

Prosecution counsel said it can be used in tampering with the evidences. They were arrested on October 13 after interrogation of more than 20 hours by the ED teams comprising some top ranking officers.

ED sleuths have seized 4 kg gold, 20 carat diamond and Rs. 47 lakh cash from Vishnoi’s house who is posted as Chief Executive Officer of Chhattisgarh Infotech Promotion Society, the prosecution had informed the court. His wife Preeti Vishnoi was also questioned by the ED.

Coal trader Laxmikant Tiwari is a close family member of Suryakant Tiwari who’s residential and commercial premises were also raided in July in which Income Tax sleuths had siezed huge quantity of sensitive documents related to illegal cash transaction and investments. Suryakant who cannot be traced so far, also has a case against him in Bengaluru for allegedly crushing his mobile phone, flushing it in a star hotel lavatory and chewing some important evidential documents.

Meanwhile, ED officials grilled Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel’s Deputy Secretary Saumya Chaurasiya, Raigarh Collector Ranu Sahu, her IAS husband JP Maurya and others just hours before the 5 day long Diwali celebration began on 22. They are accused of graft and money laundering.

Earlier, Sahu was district Collector of Korba which is considered to be the hub of coal mining and business in India. ED teams are investigating irregularities in District Mining Foundation (DMF) Fund, mining along with tribal welfare department during her tenure.

The ED began its raid on Tuesday morning in more than 10 locations related to Tiwari, his family and associates, Raigarh Collector Ranu Sahu and his husband JP Maurya, IAS Samir Vishnoi former Congress lawmaker Agni Chandrakar along with others.

There also were reports suggesting questioning of Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel’s powerful Deputy Secretary Saumya Chaurasiya by the ED sleuths yesterday.

The ED sleuths on October 11, raided more than 10 premises of business men, politicians and powerful bureaucrats widely believed to be close to Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel who warned last month that his police will act tough against any complaint of hounding by the central agencies.

The much anticipated ED raids comes close on the heels of IT raids in July this year on many of those who have been raided by the ED sleuths.

Income Tax teams earlier in July had raided 29 locations related to same set of people in which they claimed to have stumbled across evidences of collection of more than Rs. 200 crores of illicit money, cash payments made to government officials, and evidences suggesting election funding with the ill-gotten money.

With almost all his close confidantes coming under ED and IT radar, CM Baghel began to lose his cool and he warned the central agencies about needlessly tormenting anyone. “BJP is doing this to frighten us, but we will not be cowed down”, he said.