Uttarakhand: ED summons ex-Cong leader, daughter-in-law in money laundering case

Sources said Harak Singh Rawat has been asked to depose before the agency in Dehradun on 29 February and his daughter-in-law on 7 March

Harak Singh Rawat (photo: IANS)
Harak Singh Rawat (photo: IANS)


Former Uttarakhand Congress leader Harak Singh Rawat and his daughter-in-law have been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for questioning in connection with a money laundering investigation, official sources said Friday, 23 February.

Rawat, 63, is a former forest minister of the state who had quit the BJP ahead of the 2022 Uttarakhand Assembly polls and joined the Congress party. He has been asked to depose before the central agency in Dehradun on 29 February and his daughter-in-law Anukriti on 7 March, the sources said.

The agency had raided the premises of Rawat and others on 7 February. It seized Indian and foreign currency notes worth about Rs 1.20 crore, gold and "voluminous" documents during these searches. An official statement issued by the federal agency a day later did not specify what was recovered from where.

The ED probe is directed at Birendra Singh Kandari, a "close associate" of Rawat, Indian Forest Service (IFoS) officer and former DFO Kishan Chand and former forest range officer Brij Bihari Sharma. The ED had said its investigation against these people stemmed from two different FIRs registered in the state.

One of the FIRs was registered by Uttarakhand Police against Kandari and others. Kandari and Narendra Kumar Walia hatched a "criminal conspiracy" with Rawat and got registered two powers of attorney for a land, for which a court had cancelled the sale deed, the agency alleged.

They illegally sold this land to Rawat's wife Deepti Rawat and one Laxmi Singh, on which the Doon Institute of Medical Science, Dehradun was constructed under Shrimati Poorna Devi Memorial Trust, it said.

The second FIR was registered by the vigilance department of the state government against Sharma, Chand and others under various sections of the IPC, Forest Conservation Act, Wild Life (Protection) Act and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Kishan Chand, the then divisional forest officer (DFO), and Sharma, the forest ranger of that time, in a criminal conspiracy with other bureaucrats and Rawat managed to publish a tender of a higher amount than the authorised financial powers, the ED claimed, adding the tender was also not as per the rules/guidelines of the state government.

They also "fabricated" documents and "misused" the funds under the heads of Tiger Conservation Foundation and Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA), and caused a wrongful loss worth crores of rupees to the Uttarakhand government, it said.

They are also alleged to have illegally cut more than 6,000 trees against the authorisation of 163 trees, the ED said.

Chand was suspended along with Sharma for alleged irregularities in the forest department. Chand was arrested in Delhi in December 2022, and got conditional bail from the high court in April 2023.

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