ED raids in Punjab unearth mining on land attached under PMLA in Bhola drug case | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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ED raids in Punjab unearth mining on land attached under PMLA in Bhola drug case

ByNeeraj Chauhan
May 29, 2024 08:48 PM IST

The original probe pertains to a multi-crore synthetic narcotics racket unearthed in Punjab in 2013-14, known as ‘Bhola drug case

NEW DELHI: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday carried out raids at 13 locations in Punjab’s Rupnagar district to unearth illegal mining on land attached under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in 2015 in a drug trafficking case, people familiar with the development said.

Enforcement Directorate
Enforcement Directorate

During the searches, the agency seized 3.5 crore in cash.

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The original probe pertains to a multi-crore synthetic narcotics racket unearthed in Punjab in 2013-14, known as ‘Bhola drug case’, in which wrestler-turned-policeman-turned-drug mafia Jagdish Singh alias Bhola is alleged to be the kingpin. He was arrested in 2014 and is currently facing trial in the case.

The federal agency had taken up the narcotics case in March 2013 based on a Punjab police first information report (FIR). Later, seven more FIRs were clubbed in the probe.

It was alleged that the accused indulged in the manufacturing and smuggling of narcotics and synthetic drugs on a large scale.

A senior ED officer, who didn’t want to be named, said “Unexplained properties worth 95.53 crore were attached, and seven persons were arrested at that time in the case”. A charge sheet against Jagdish Singh Bhola was filed in March 2014 while six more supplementary charge sheets were filed against 67 other accused.

Anoop Singh Kahlon, one of the key accused, skipped bail and is suspected of having skipped out of the country. “A red notice was issued against him by Interpol on ED,” said this officer.

Besides, lookout circulars were issued against 18 other accused.

“During the investigation, the role of non-resident Indians based in Canada and the UK also surfaced. Some of them have already been named in the charge sheets. We have also sent letters of request (LRs) in respect of 16 persons based in Canada and 2 persons based in the UK, which have already been forwarded to the concerned authorities in respective countries’ authorities. Regular follow-up is also done to know the status of LR requests,” said a second ED officer.

Detailing the illegal mining being carried out on the land attached by ED under PMLA, the first officer cited above said the agency received inputs that an FIR was registered at police station - Nangal, Rupnagar, Punjab alleging that illegal mining has been done in the land/site and gravel to the tune of 8,09,860 cubic feet has been illegally mined/excavated without permission and license.

“We found that site on which illegal mining was taking place was attached by us in March 2015. Therefore, a fresh money laundering case was registered, and raids have been carried out on one of the accused Nasib Chand and others, who are part of mining mafia in Ropar,” said the second officer.

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