During the tenure of Pooja Singhal as Deputy Commissioner in Khunti, a case of MNREGA scam of more than Rs 10 crore came to the fore. In this case, initially 16 FIRs were registered against JE Ram Vinod Sinha, after which it came to light that the Deputy Commissioner has the right to follow the schemes of MNREGA and monitor the schemes. In such a situation, a request was also made to register an FIR against the then Deputy Commissioner Pooja Singhal.
In 2010, CM Arjun Munda ordered ACB probe
After the MNREGA scam was exposed during IAS Pooja Singhal’s deputy commissioner in Khunti, the then Chief Minister Arjun Munda ordered an inquiry into the MNREGA scam, but this order never reached the ACB. Later, when a PIL was filed in the High Court seeking a high-level inquiry into the matter, the ED and ACB were ordered to file affidavits. On this, the ED told the court that the role of Pooja Singhal in the whole case is being investigated. At the same time, it has been told from the ACB that no case related to the scam in MNREGA in Khunti has been ordered for ACB investigation.
Ram Vinod Sinha confesses to paying money before ED
On September 18, 2010, a case of irregularities of 10.16 crores was registered in Khunti police station regarding MNREGA scam in Khunti. When the ED started investigating the case, it came to light that Ram Vinod Singh had confessed to paying 5% of the cut money to his senior officers and 5% to the DC office. Pooja Singhal was the District Co-ordinator cum Deputy Commissioner of MGNREGA from February 2009 to July 2010. However, later in the departmental inquiry, Pooja Singhal was given a clean chit in this case.
There was a huge amount in the account of the IAS officer of Jharkhand
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has said that Jharkhand Mining Secretary Pooja Singhal and her husband had received a huge amount of cash amounting to Rs 1.43 crore in their bank accounts besides salaries. According to the ED, Singhal, who is facing allegations of irregularities, received this amount during his posting as District Magistrate of various districts of the state. The ED also told the special court hearing cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in Ranchi that Singhal, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, allegedly deducted Rs 16.57 lakh from her personal account as a Chartered Accountant (CA). ) transferred to the account controlled by Suman Kumar.
Kumar was arrested on Saturday on charges of money laundering in a case related to alleged fraud of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme (MGNREGA) funds. Kumar was arrested by the ED from Ranchi. Earlier, on May 6, the agency had conducted raids in several cities against Kumar, Singhal, her businessman husband Abhishek Jha and others. The special court sent him to ED custody till May 11. ED is questioning Jha.
The ED said it has seized over Rs 17.79 crore in cash from the residential and office premises of the chartered accountant. The officials also took the help of the machine to count the cash and pictures and videos of the exercise had surfaced on social media. According to the agency, a total cash amount of Rs 19.31 crore has been seized after these raids and the seizure is also being made from another location in Ranchi. Requesting Kumar’s custody, the agency told the court that the CA was suppressing information about the source of the cash seized from his house and was not disclosing the actual owner of the cash.
The agency alleged that Singhal, a 2000-batch IAS officer, used the cash deposited in her bank accounts to purchase life insurance schemes during 2007-2013 while serving as the Collector of three districts. The ED probe pertains to a money laundering case in which Ram Binod Prasad Sinha, a former junior engineer in the Jharkhand government, was arrested by the agency from West Bengal on June 17, 2020.
In 2012, the agency registered a case against Sinha under PMLA after going through the FIR of the State Vigilance Bureau against Sinha. Sinha was booked under criminal sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) relating to cheating and corruption. Sinha told the ED that “he paid five per cent commission to the district administration”. The ED has said that various allegations of irregularities were leveled against Singhal when he served as the Deputy Commissioner/District Magistrate of Chatra, Khunti and Palamu between 2007-2013.