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Judiciary

Supreme Court Denies Relief to Husband of High-Profile Jharkhand IAS Officer in Money Laundering Case

By Harshvardhan Sharma      24 June, 2023 12:15 AM      0 Comments
Supreme Court Denies Relief to Husband of High-Profile Jharkhand IAS Officer in Money Laundering Case

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to hear a plea for anticipatory bail moved by Abhishek Jha, the husband of suspended Jharkhand cadre IAS officer Pooja Singhal, in a money laundering case in connection with the MNREGA scam in the state.

A vacation bench of Justices Surya Kant and M M Sundresh fixed the matter for hearing on July 5, saying the matter should be examined by a bench led by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul which earlier granted interim bail to Singhal.

A 2000-batch IAS officer, Singhal is the main accused in the alleged scam allegedly involving embezzlement of public funds of Rs 18.07 crore when she was the deputy commissioner of Khunti district.

Jha has challenged the May 18 order of the Jharkhand High Court rejecting his plea for pre-arrest bail in the case.

He claimed during the commission of the alleged predicate offence, he was pursuing his Master's in Business Administration (MBA) in Australia and was primarily stationed there from 2008 to 2011.

"The alleged predicate offence pertains to the period 2009-2010, a period more than 12-13 years ago, and is related to certain FIRs having been registered against certain individuals in that period. The name of the petitioner is not and could not have been a part of the said FIRs owing to his absence from the country itself," his plea stated.

He said he got acquainted with Singhal in the later part of 2010, and they further got married on June 20, 2011.

The ED, however, claimed Jha’s fortunes soared after his marriage to Singhal, and ill-gotten cash, allegedly the proceeds of crime generated by the officer through corrupt practices, began flowing into his bank accounts.

Jha has claimed the money was his legitimate income from his job in Australia.

He claimed he is a well-educated and established businessman who has, entirely on his own, established Pulse Sanjeevani Healthcare Pvt Ltd and successfully managed and ran Pulse Hospital and Pulse Diagnostic Centre in Ranchi. He also stated he had cooperated with the ED and presented himself before the agency for investigation.

The ED alleged that material recovered from IAS officer Singhal, after her arrest on May 11, 2022, showed direct linkage with political higher ups.

On May 7, 2022, after a raid, the ED had arrested Suman Kumar, Chartered Accountant, who allegedly recorded a statement that majority of the cash amount of Rs.17.79 crores seized from his residential and official premises of belonged to the petitioner's wife, Singhal.



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