Court sends suspended IAS Ranu Sahu and another to custody in coal scam

The Uncut

Raipur. A court in Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh, has appointed suspended Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Ranu Sahu and former deputy secretary in the Chief Minister’s Office Soumya Chaurasia to the state’s anti-corruption agency in a case related to the alleged coal duty scam that surfaced during the previous Congress government in the state. Bureau (ACB)/Economic Offenses Investigation Wing (EOW) has been sent to four-day custody.

Both the officers were arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the alleged coal duty scam case related to money laundering.
Sahu, a 2010 batch Chhattisgarh cadre IAS officer, was arrested by the ED in July last year, while Chaurasia, then Deputy Secretary in the Chief Minister’s Office, was arrested in December 2022. Both were in jail since then.

ACB/EOW advocate Saurabh Pandey said that Sahu and Chaurasia were arrested by the ACB/EOW on Thursday and produced in the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge (IV) Atul Kumar Srivastava. Pandey said, “ACB/EOW had sought their custody till June 5, but the court has given custody till May 27.” He said that earlier this year, the EOW had registered a case in the alleged coal duty scam based on information shared by the ED. The ED has been investigating the money laundering aspect in this case for the last two years.

Pandey said that the ACB/EOW arrested Sahu and Chaurasia to collect more information and evidence in their case and sought their custody for interrogation. In the FIR registered under sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code, the state ACB/EOW has named former minister Amarjeet Bhagat, outgoing Congress MLA Devendra Yadav, former MLAs- UD Minj, Gulab Kamro, Chandradev Prasad Rai, Shishupal Sori, Brihaspat Singh, suspended IAS officer Sameer Bishnoi and Ranu Sahu and Saumya Chaurasia as accused.

The FIR mentioned that illegal charges of Rs 25 per tonne were being collected for coal transported in the state by a cartel involving senior bureaucrats, businessmen, politicians and middlemen. According to the FIR, businessman Suryakant Tiwari was the main conspirator of this scam.

The ED had initiated a money laundering probe into the coal duty scam in Chhattisgarh and conducted searches and arrested 11 accused. The ED had provisionally attached assets worth Rs 222 crore. It said that a gang managed to get policy changes done with the support of some political persons. The gang includes private individuals like Suryakant Tiwari and state government officials like Saumya Chaurasia, Sameer Vishnoi and state mining officials. The FIR said that the amount extorted was used as per the instructions of Suryakant Tiwari and Saumya Chaurasia.

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