ED to question ex-govt official accused of defrauding Rs 18 cr MGNREGA funds in J'khand

New Delhi, Jun 29 (PTI) The Enforcement Directorate will begin questioning of a former Jharkhand junior engineer arrested in a money laundering case linked to alleged embezzlement of Rs 18 crore MGNREGA funds in Khunti district of the state.  The official, Ram Binod Prasad Sinha, was arrested by the central probe agency from North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal on June 17 and a special court in Ranchi on Monday granted the agency 10-day custody of Sinha.

The ED booked Sinha under money laundering charges after studying 16 FIRs and charge sheets filed by the Jharkhand vigilance bureau against him a few years back for allegedly 'abusing his official position and indulging in embezzlement of Rs 18 crore government funds by way of forgery and misappropriation of funds'.

The money was earmarked for execution of government projects under the MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) scheme in Jharkhand's Khunti district, the agency said.

The ED also filed a charge sheet against Sinha in December, 2018 and the special court in Ranchi subsequently issued summons to him for appearance before it which he did not honour, the agency alleged.

The court then issued a non-bailable warrant against Sinha on the basis of which he was arrested, the ED said in a statement.

'Despite cancellation of bails granted to Sinha in three cases of Jharkhand anti-corruption bureau, the accused failed to appear before the court,' it said.

'All his petitions of anticipatory as well as regular bails were rejected by the PMLA special court as well as the Jharkhand High Court,' the ED said.

The agency will now begin interrogation of Sinha and record his statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Assets worth Rs 4.28 crore of Sinha have been attached by the ED as part of two separate orders issued in 2018 and last year, it said. PTI NES KJ KJ