ED arrests former IAS officer in Chhattisgarh on money laundering charges

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New Delhi, Nov 10 (PTI) The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested former IAS officer Babulal Agrawal from Chhattisgarh in a money laundering case that is linked to charges of corruption and disproportionate assets against him, the agency said on Tuesday.

'He was arrested from his residence in Raipur on Monday and was produced before a special PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) court, and the court sent him to ED custody till November 12,' it said.

Agrawal, a 1988-batch IAS officer, has served as a principal secretary in the Chhattisgarh government and was also arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the past on charges of corruption.

He was suspended by the state government after the CBI arrested him.

It was alleged that Agrawal wanted to 'settle' CBI probes against him which were registered in 2010 when he was the health secretary in the Chhattisgarh government.

The ED in a statement said that he has been arrested for 'laundering the proceeds generated out of criminal offences through shell companies and integrating the same in the business of his family members'.

The agency said its criminal case filed against Agrawal, his chartered accountant Sunil Agrawal and others was filed under the PMLA after studying a 2010 FIR of the Chhattisgarh anti-corruption bureau and the CBI.

The alleged corruption and disproportionate assets case against the former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer came to light after the Income Tax Department raided him in February 2010.

The ED said it was found in the probe that Agrawal 'played an active role for splitting the tender contracts related to World Bank aided Malaria control programme and awarding them to some non-existing entities and thereby, causing loss to the exchequer and pecuniary benefit to himself.' The former bureaucrat, in connivance with his CA Sunil Agrawal, his brother Ashok Agrawal and Pawan Agrawal, opened 'more than 400 bank accounts in the name of gullible villagers of Kharora and its nearby villages and cash to the tune of about Rs 46 crore was deposited', the agency alleged.

This cash, the ED alleged, was 'laundered' through shell or dummy companies opened by Agrawal's CA and other entities, which was ultimately parked in a company identified as Prime Ispat Ltd, Raipur, as investment in shares.

'The ED has already attached properties to the tune of Rs 36.09 crore which includes assets of Prime Ispat Ltd, Raipur, and the properties of Babulal Agrawal,' it said.

Chartered accountant Sunil Agrawal was arrested by the ED in this case earlier. PTI NES ANB ANB