Chhattisgarh Chief Minister's Deputy Secretary Arrested By Central Agency

Saumya Chaurasia, deputy secretary to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, was arrested by the ED.

A top bureaucrat in Chhattisgarh has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate

Raipur:

A top bureaucrat in Chhattisgarh has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate, or ED, for alleged money laundering.

Saumya Chaurasia, deputy secretary to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, was arrested by the ED and sent to four-day custody.

Ms Chaurasia was taken for a health check-up after the arrest. Escorted by the Central Reserve Police Force, or CRPF, she was then taken to a local court.

The ED in October arrested Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Sameer Vishnoi and two others after conducting raids in the case.

The money laundering investigation, launched after the ED took note of a complaint by the income tax department, is linked to an alleged scam in which illegal levy of Rs 25 per tonne had been extorted from every tonne of coal transported in Chhattisgarh by a cartel involving senior bureaucrats, businessmen, politicians and middlemen.

Ms Chaurasia's home was also raided in February 2020. The chief minister had called the raid by the central agency a "political revenge" and claimed there was an attempt to "destabilise" his government.

Last week, Mr Baghel alleged in tweets that the ED and income tax officers thrashed detained businessmen and officers with rods.

"We have come to know about incidents of detaining people without informing local police, serving them summons on the spot, making them sit in murga position, stopping them without food and water till late night, beating them with rods, threatening them with imprisoning them for life by ED officials," the Chief Minister had said.

He said the ED officials should make video recordings during interrogations.

"Agencies like ED and income tax should take legal action against those involved in corruption, we welcome it, but the way illegal activities are coming to the fore during the investigations by the ED and I-T department are not at all acceptable," Mr Baghel said.

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