Mohali, Jan 19: In a major blow to Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seized more than 8 crores from the residence of Channi's nephew, Bhupinder Singh Honey, and his associates. In total, the ED has recovered 10 crores of cash during the raids conducted in an anti-money laundering investigation against illegal sand mining operations in the poll-bound border state.
The raids, which started around 7.30 am on Tuesday, were conducted at places including Chandigarh and Mohali, and the action was undertaken under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), said ED officials. Bhupinder Singh Honey, is one of the main accused in the illegal sand mining case.
According to the ED, approximately Rs, 8 crores were seized from Bhupinder Singh Honey’s residence in Mohali. An amount of Rs 80 lakh has been recovered from one of the other places covered in the search. While around Rs 2 crores were recovered at the residential premises of Sandeep Kumar in Ludhiana.
In the FIR relating to Charanjit Channi’s nephew, a team comprising of officials of the Mining Department, Civil Administration, and Police Department had made a surprise check on March 7, 2018, on the basis of a complaint received at the Police Station – Rahon, SBS Nagar regarding illegal sand mining.
Consequently, it was found that several mines were being excavated by various machines and mining was being carried out beyond the designated area. Subsequently, the mining operation at the Malikpur mining site was stopped, and also the approval of weighing slips was stopped by the team.
As per the FIR, apart from Malikpur, illegal mining activities were also carried out at Burjtahl Das, Barsal, Lalewal, Mandala, and Khosa.
CM Channi had termed the ED raids a 'political vendetta to target Congressmen' ahead of the Punjab assembly elections. The Punjab CM highlighted that a similar pattern was witnessed during the West Bengal elections, and alleged that the BJP-ruled Central government was using the law enforcement agency to target him and his ministers.