IAS officer slush assets in net

Pradeep Kumar, Santhal Pargana commissioner 

Patna: The Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday attached movable and immovable assets of IAS officer Pradeep Kumar, who before 2000 belonged to the Bihar cadre, in a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

Kumar, a 1991 batch officer, is at present posted as the commissioner of Santhal Pargana in Jharkhand, whose cadre he chose after Bihar's bifurcation. He had served as Patna district magistrate in 1998.

The attached immovable assets include one flat each in Ranchi and Calcutta, two houses in Udaipur in Rajasthan, and a plot of land in Karnataka.

These properties are in the name of Kumar, his unemployed and unmarried youner brother Rajendra Kumar and a middleman Shyamal Chakravarty. Fixed deposits worth Rs 43 lakh and bank deposits worth Rs 40 lakh have also been attached, said an ED official.

Though the book value of all the assets is pegged at around Rs 1.8 crore, their market value, especially of various properties, runs into crores.

IAS Kumar has already been charge-sheeted by the CBI in the National Rural Health Mission scam which entails purchase of mobile clinics under dubious deals and for accumulating assets disproportionate to his income. The chargesheet pertains to his tenure as Jharkhand health secretary in the mid-2000s.

"We were probing the IAS officer for money-laundering and found out that he started liasioning and conniving with builders, especially one Dharmendra Kumar Dhiraj, during his stint as Patna DM, and started amassing ill-gotten wealth. He also used various fronts to launder it," an ED sleuth from the Patna zonal office told The Telegraph on the condition of anonymity.

The official added that Chakravarty, who started acting as Pradeep's middleman when he was posted as Patna DM, and a chartered accountant helped him launder the money and invest it in land and houses. Two firms - Nandlal HUF and M/S Essar Enterprises - were also formed by Chakravarty and the officer's brother Rajendra through which the ill-gotten wealth was laundered, the ED official said.

The land plot is in Hubli, the second largest city of Karnataka. The flat at south Calcutta is in an apartment block on Bondel Road in the tony Ballygunge locality, while the one at Ranchi is in upscale Jascon Plaza. The houses at Udaipur are in the posh Manik Khera area.

ED officials said this was the first ever attachment of property of a serving IAS officer by the Patna zonal office.


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