RAIPUR: A Raipur court on Friday rejected the bail plea of Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel’s former deputy secretary Saumya Chaurasia in a money laundering case linked to the alleged coal levy scam.
“We had filed a bail petition of Chaurasia and after arguments, the court has rejected the bail. The ground of the rejection was an incomplete investigation of the case,” said Faizal Rizvi, Chaurasia’s counsel.
Chaurasia was arrested on December 22nd, by the ED under the criminal sections of the PMLA and was later sent to judicial custody. The federal agency claimed that in the Rs 540 crore extorted in the last two years, had movable and immovable properties worth ₹152.31 crore belonging to accused including Chaurasia.
Earlier this week, Nikhil Chandrakar- a local bussinessman arrested in the case had filed a petition in the court alleging that ED has been pressurizing him during the interrogation to utter the names of some people in the case to frame charges against them. He complained that he was mentally tortured by the agency officials during the interrogation and was kept him under custody for more than a day illegally.
The ED in their affidavit in November had claimed that Chandrakar was one of the close aides of the kingpin of the alleged scam, Suryakant Tiwari. He was called for questioning by ED on December 23. It claimed that Tiwari was able to pressurise various officers to do illegal acts by using Chhattisgarh chief minister’s deputy secretary Saumya Chaurasia’s name.
IAS officer Sameer Vishnoi, businessman Sunil Agrawal, Laxmikant Tiwari, and kingpin Suryakant Tiwari were arrested in October last year, on charges of involvement in a nexus of govt officials who collected illegal levy of Rs 24 per tonne of coal which was transported from mines in Chhattisgarh.