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Illegal sand mining case: ED raids continue on 2nd day at Punjab CM's relative, other places

ANI | Updated: Jan 19, 2022 12:30 IST

New Delhi, January 19 (ANI) The Enforcement Directorate (ED) continued its raid at multiple locations in Punjab for the second consecutive day on Wednesday in connection with an alleged illegal sand mining case that involves Bhupinder Singh Honey, a relative of state Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi.
An ED team is also questioning Honey and recording his statement. However, the officials said, the decision to arrest anyone would be taken as per the situation.
The places being searched on Wednesday are situated in Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Mohali, Pathankot and Panchkula which include Honey's Homeland Heights Society residence in Mohali's Sector-70, said ED sources.
The fresh raids have been started since morning under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The agency officials are engaged in verifying the source of over Rs 6 crore cash recovered from the residential premises of land mafia Bhupinder Singh Honey in a day-long raid conducted nearly a dozen places in poll-Punjab on Tuesday.
Several documents linked to illegal banking transactions and related to some immovable property are also being scrutinized, said the source.
The federal agency had made these recoveries on Tuesday during raids at nearly a dozen places in Punjab as part of a money-laundering probe against the 'sand mafia' and companies linked to alleged illegal sand mining in the border state.
The ED on Tuesday searched the residence and office premises of the suspects that include premises linked to sand mafia Honey, who had allegedly floated a firm named Punjab Realtors to get sand mining contracts.
Sources said that the raiding team of the ED recovered over Rs 6 crore during searches at Honey's residence Homeland Heights Society in Mohali's Sector-70 and other places. However, there is no official word on it yet.
The ED has refused to connect any political links in the case.
The ED suspects that black money was invested in getting a contract for the sand mine. The company floated, sources say, is of very small scale and unlikely to get a contract worth crores.

The ED action is learnt to be initiated after taking cognizance of a 2018 FIR of the Punjab Police against some companies and individuals alleged to be involved in illegal sand mining in the state.
Punjab Police had registered the case in 2018 regarding illegal sand mining and Section 420 was later added to the FIR. The ED took over the case to probe under PMLA.
The FIR was lodged against Honey's partner Kudratdeep Singh of Ludhiana and 25 others. The case was registered after then CM Capt Amarinder Singh spotted illegal mining activities in Nawanshahr while flying in his chopper to Kartarpur on March 6, 2018.
When the ED questioned Kudratdeep Singh it came to the fore that the main facilitator was Honey.
Sources in the ED said the agency is probing whether the CM's name was used to do illegal mining.
With the Assembly election in Punjab slated for February 20, the timing of raids is all set to rise the electioneering mercury in the State.
Voting for 117 assembly seats in Punjab is slated on February 20.
Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Tuesday termed the raids as part of a political vendetta, saying "Congress party and its leaders will not budge under any pressure".
Notably, former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh after quitting from his post and the Congress party had publicly alleged that the party leaders were involved in illegal sand mining.
"As far as the issue of illegal sand mining was concerned the offenders, unfortunately, were the substantive bulk of Congress MLAs and Ministers, including an overwhelming number in the current government," he stated.
The Opposition parties --including Shiromani Akali Dal and Aam Aadmi Party -- have been consistently accusing the Congress leaders of being involved in illegal mining activities that were rampant across the State. (ANI)