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ED mulls case against Adhikary

The enforcement directorate (ED) is set to launch a money laundering case against Pronab Adhikary, from whose house police have allegedly seized Rs 20.07 crore of unaccounted money.

The cash haul is one of the biggest seizures from a government official across India in recent past.

A team from the central agency, which specialises in probing financial scams, visited the anti-corruption bureau's office in central Calcutta on Monday with a request for the documents needed to start the money laundering case.

"A copy of the FIR, the exact details of the seizure and other relevant documents would be needed to start a case of money laundering against the accused. The idea is to start a parallel probe to investigate the larger aspect of money laundering," an official of the enforcement directorate said.

The bureau had seized the money, which police said Adhikary had extorted from promoters during his stint as sub-assistant engineer of the erstwhile Bally Municipality, during a raid on the two-storeyed house of the accused in Howrah's Naskarpara. The 20-hour raid started on Friday night.

Multiple officers of the agency, which is also probing the Saradha scam and the money trail in the Khagragarh blast, said the haul from Adhikary's house was "one of the largest" in disproportionate assets cases lodged against any government employee in India.

"I can hardly recall a case of this magnitude," a senior ED official said over the phone from Delhi.

Officers of the anti-corruption bureau said notes were found stashed in almost every corner of Adhikary's house.

Also seized were jewellery worth Rs 14 lakh, documents suggesting the family has post office deposits of Rs 58 lakh and papers related to 12 bank accounts of the Adhikarys across the city.

The bureau on Monday wrote to the income tax department, seeking Adhikary's tax return details. It had earlier written to the banks where the family has the 12 accounts and is waiting for their reply.

Adhikary and his son Tonmoy were on Monday produced before the additional district and sessions judge at the city sessions court, Sanchita Sarkar. The judge extended the duo's police custody by another 12 days.

No lawyer represented the father. The judge asked Soumen Manna, who was representing Tonmoy, whether he would plead for the father, too.

Manna agreed but said he was not ready with the bail prayer yet. The judge then asked him whether he could move the bail prayer at the next hearing.

The anti-corruption bureau submitted a prayer to include IPC Section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharging his duty) against the two accused on the ground that they had injured two constables during the raid. The cops were admitted to TL Jaiswal Hospital. The prayer was granted.

The police had earlier started a case under the prevention of corruption act and the IPC section related to criminal conspiracy against the duo.

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