The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday exposed all six persons who were arrested for their role in forging, tampering with, and fabricating land records, according to the press release issued by the ED on April 18.

By doing so, states ED, they changed the nature of lands that were designated as non-saleable under the CNT Act, a legislation to protect the land rights of tribal and marginalized communities. 

The ED further revealed that it has provisionally attached tainted land parcels worth Rs. 266 crore in the land scam in Ranchi. 

In the same press release, the agency said it had arrested four accused persons, namely Priya Ranjan Sahay, Irshad Akhtar, Antu Tirkey and Bipin Singh, in the case of Bhanu Pratap Prasad and others.

“In addition, one person, Afsar Ali, has also been arrested and taken into custody,” it added. 

As of now, the  PMLA Court in Ranchi has remanded him to ED custody till April 22. In this case, another accused, Md. Saddam Hussain is already in ED custody till April 20. 

The ED has shed light on other facts: that all six persons who were arrested for their role in forging, tampering with, and fabricating land records, and thereby changing the nature of lands designated as non-saleable under the CNT Act, legislation to protect the land rights of tribal and marginalized communities, were part of a gang.

The ED has said that 22 persons, including former Chief Minister Hemant Soren, Chhavi Ranjan, IAS (Ex-DC, Ranchi), Bhanu Pratap Prasad (Revenue Sub-Inspector), Amit Kumar Agarwal, Prem Prakash, etc., have been arrested so far. 

Records show that the ED has filed three prosecution complaints( consider each as charge sheet)in the cases of land scams presently under investigation. 

Moreover, the ED has pointed out that it has always shared the investigation’s findings, including the land scam, with the Government of Jharkhand from time to time vide 14 references made under section 66 (2) of PMLA. 

The ED has pointed out that the active involvement of the Land Revenue Department, and government officials in Ranchi and Kolkata has also surfaced. 

The ED, in the press release, has said Hemant Soren and Bhanu Pratap Prasad, a revenue official and custodian of original government records, were arrested for acquiring, possessing and concealing the proceeds of crime like an immovable property measuring 8.8 acres at Bariatu, Ranchi. 

Not least, the ED adds:a prosecution complaint (equivalent to a chargesheet) was filed on March 30 against them and four other accused persons for aiding and abetting Hemant Soren in his unlawful acquisition and possession of the said property.  

“The afore-said property worth Rs. 31 crore (govt value) was also provisionally attached by the ED.”

Alongside, Saddam Hussain was arrested on April 9 for involvement in forgery and falsification of land records,” the agency added. 

The ED has initiated a money laundering investigation in five land scams with similar modus operandi based on multiple FIRs registered by the Jharkhand and Kolkata Police against several persons, including government officials. 

ED states: “Investigation revealed that a racket of the land mafia is active in Jharkhand which is involved in tampering the land records in Ranchi and Kolkata.“

Original land records of ownership are either tampered or concealed to facilitate unlawful acquisition/possession/use of landed properties. Subsequently, on the basis of forged land records, such land parcels are sold to other persons,” the agency said. 

In all, the ED had carried out 51 searches and nine surveys in the above cases. And, in the process, a large quantity of incriminating evidence like forged seals of the Land¬ Revenue Department, forged land deeds, records of the distribution of Proceeds of Crime among them, photographs doing forgery, evidence of giving bribes to Government officials, etc. were seized,” the ED said. 

Notably, the ED has put on record another fact that it’s raids had resulted in the recovery and seizure of Rs.1.25 crore (approximately) of cash and the freezing of Rs. 3.56 crore worth of balance in bank accounts.


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