Over 17 Hours, 35 Crores: Big Haul In Ranchi Raids Linked To Minister

Coming days ahead of the Lok Sabha election in Jharkhand, the recovery has raised a political storm.

ED officials have been at work for over 12 hours now to count the cash found


Cash worth Rs 35.23 crore has been recovered over the past 17 hours, sources said after several officials worked to reach a final number. Multiple cash counting machines, officials said, have broken down and new ones brought in.

The room where the cash mountain has been unearthed belongs to Jahangir, house help of Sanjiv Lal, a personal secretary to Jharkhand Rural Development minister and Congress leader Alamgir Alam. Officials of the Enforcement Directorate unearthed the cash during its raids at half a dozen premises linked to Virendra Ram, former chief engineer at Jharkhand Rural Development Department. Ram was arrested last year in a money laundering case linked to alleged irregularities in the implementing government schemes.

Coming days ahead of the Lok Sabha election in Jharkhand, the recovery has raised a political storm. The BJP has pointed to the Congress minister's connection and accused the Opposition party of corruption. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in Odisha for the election campaign, referred to the cash haul. "Today, mountains of currency notes are being found in the neighbouring state Jharkhand. Now tell me, if I stop their theft, their earning, their loot, won't they abuse Modi or not? Despite abuses, Shouldn't I be doing this work? Shouldn't I be saving your money," he asked, countering the Opposition's charge on the Centre's alleged misuse of probe agencies.

Jharkhand BJP chief Babulal Marandi said that if this is the recovery from the house of the help of a minister's secretary, "what would be found in ministers' homes". "They keep saying ED is harassing us. I want to tell the government and Kalpana Soren, you should remove Alamgir Alam as minister" he said. Ms Soren is former Chief Minister Hemant Soren's wife and has entered active politics after his arrest in a money laundering case.

Mr Alam has said no one should reach conclusions before the ED completes its investigation. He has also pointed out that Sanjiv Lal had served as a secretary to two former ministers. "Sanjiv Lal is a government employee. He is my personal secretary. Sanjiv Lal has already been a personal secretary of two former ministers. We usually appoint personal secretaries based on experience. It is not right to comment on the raids before the ED investigation is completed," he said.