ED uncovers scams involving Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister's close associates: Sources

New Delhi, July 9 The Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Income Tax authorities have found Gian Chand and Prabhat Chand, key associates of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, are involved in multi-crore scams in the state.

According to ED sources, incriminating documents have been obtained by the ED and I-T indicating the duo's involvement.

It is reported that the Sukhu government openly favoured them, leading to significant financial losses to the state treasury.

Based on the FIRs, complaints and field verification reports, the ED initiated a PMLA investigation and conducted a search operation on July 4 at M/s Jai Maa Jawala Stone Crusher at Adhwani Village, Jwalamukhi Tehsil, Kangra, and related premises of its proprietor Gian Chand & others.

During the searches, the ED has unearthed incriminating findings regarding rampant illegal mining in the state, sources added.

According to sources, preliminary findings suggest that Gian Chand is a local influential businessman and politically exposed person who is a member of the District Congress Committee.

“He is known to be close to the present Himachal CM Sukhu. He is the beneficial owner of M/s Jai Maa Jawala Stone Crusher. ED investigation has revealed that although the stone crusher has a valid license, large-scale discrepancies have been observed,” a source said.

The discrepancies are in the form of the following: Firstly, mining is being done on the river bed itself. Secondly, on ED's insistence, local mining officers were summoned, and they also did a survey and verified that rampant illegal mining was being done outside the licensed area, sources said.

Thirdly, large-scale cash sales of mined material were being done. Fourth, illegally mined material from other areas is also being crushed and sold without valid transport permits and large daily cash dealings are done.

Fifth, rampant mining has destroyed the fragile ecosystem. Comparison with historical maps of the NRSA will show that hundreds of crores worth of illegal mining has been done by this unit alone, sources said.

Sixth, mining activity is being done during night time also.

The ED is learnt to have unearthed evidence of cash dealings, illegal cash deposits of more than Rs 8 crore in a single account, and utilization of cash in land deals.

According to sources, Gian Chand and his family have also received multiple mid-level tenders of road construction etc from the state government.

"These tenders are won in benami names. Illegally mined material is used in these tenders, but bogus bills are generated in the name of 'benami' shell entities to siphon off illegal profit. Local officers are approving the works without any quality check and giving signed blank inspection reports to Gian Chand. Also, Gian Chand & Rajeev Singh (brother of Himachal CM) have acquired adjacent landed properties for illegal mining," a source said.

Sources further said that lower-level government officials are actively conniving with the suspects in turning a blind eye to this rampant exploitation of the area, which is responsible for disturbing the ecological balance of the area.

This eco-sensitive area is prone to landslides now because of the unscientific exploitation of the terrain. In investigations being carried out by the Income Tax, Liquor and civil contractors of Himachal Pradesh: Prabhat Chand, his son-in-law Saurabh Katoch and Ajay Kumar are handling huge cash and unaccounted transactions of CM Sukhu and his relatives.

A firm named APR Construction Company is suspected to be involved in major suppression of receipts, sources said.

According to sources, Ajay Kumar, along with Parbhat Kumar were also among the beneficiaries of land acquisition made by Himachal Road Transport Corporation.

"Land purchased by them for Rs 2,60,000 in 2015, was acquired by HRTC for Rs. 6.72 crore in 2024, and it has been alleged that this was a scheme to defraud the exchequer, and land was acquired from them at highly overvalued rates," a source said.

"A One Time Settlement Scheme (OTS) is being implemented by the Kangra Central Co-operative Bank. The key person facilitating this cash settlement is Vicky Handa, a renowned jeweller from Hamirpur and was suspected to be involved in this alleged fraud OTS scheme," the source added.

Source: IANS
IDN
IDN  

Related Articles

Next Story