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ED attaches assets worth over Rs 27 crore of Chhattisgarh-based former IAS officer Babulal Agrawal


Enforcement_Directorate_PTI

NEW DELHI: Assets worth over Rs 27 crore of Chhattisgarh-based former IAS officer Babulal Agrawal have been attached by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the central probe agency said on Saturday.

The agency is probing Agrawal, his family members and others in connection with a money laundering case linked to charges of alleged corruption and disproportionate assets.

"The attached assets include plant and machinery, balances in bank accounts and immovable properties of Babulal Agarwal and his family members," the ED said in a statement.

The total value of the attached properties is Rs 27.86 crore, it said.

Agrawal, a 1988-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, was arrested by the agency from his residence in state capital Raipur on November 9 and he is in judicial custody till December 5.

He has served as a principal secretary in the Chhattisgarh government and has been arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) also in the past on charges of corruption.

Agrawal was suspended by the state government after the CBI arrested him.

It was alleged that Agrawal wanted to "settle" CBI probes against him which were registered in 2010 when he was the health secretary in the state government.

When the ED arrested him earlier this month, it said the action was taken against Agrawal for "laundering the proceeds generated out of criminal offences through shell companies and integrating the same in the business of his family members."

The ED had said its criminal case filed against Agrawal, his chartered accountant (CA) Sunil Agrawal and others was filed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after studying a 2010 FIR of the Chhattisgarh anti-corruption bureau and the CBI.

Plant and machinery worth Rs 26.16 crore, Rs 20.43 lakh kept in 291 bank accounts, a residential plot worth Rs 39.52 lakh in the name of a firm, Xpress Mining Pvt Ltd, which is an entity owned and operated by family members of Babulal Agrawal, and Rs 15 lakh cash recovered during I-T searches are among the provisionally attached assets.

The attached assets also include Rs 4.75 lakh kept in the bank account of a company called Capstone and a residential plot worth Rs 10.25 lakh in the name of a firm identified as Shri Ram Vihar (both partnership firms owned and operated by family members of the former IAS officer), and Rs 39.81 lakh cash and two kgs gold recovered by the CBI when it raided him.

The alleged corruption and disproportionate assets case against the former bureaucrat first came to light after the Income Tax (I-T) department raided him in February, 2010.

The ED had said it was found in the probe that Babulal Agrawal "played an active role for splitting the tender contracts related to the World Bank aided Malaria control program and awarding them to some non-existing entities and thereby, causing loss to the exchequer and pecuniary benefit to himself."

The ED has also alleged that the former bureaucrat, in connivance with his CA Sunil Agrawal, his brother Ashok Agrawal and Pawan Agrawal, opened "more than 400 bank accounts in the name of gullible villagers of Kharora and its nearby villages and cash to the tune of about Rs 46 crore was deposited."

This cash, the ED alleged, was "laundered" through shell or dummy companies opened by Agrawal's CA and other entities, which was ultimately parked in a company identified as Prime Ispat Ltd, Raipur, as investment in shares.

The ED has earlier attached properties to the tune of Rs 36.09 crore which includes assets of Prime Ispat Ltd, Raipur and the properties of the former IAS.

Sunil Agrawal was also arrested by the ED in this case earlier.

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)