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Friday, July 26, 2024

SC grants interim bail to suspended IAS officer Pooja Singhal

The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted interim bail to Pooja Singhal, Jharkhand cadre IAS officer suspended in a money laundering case, to look after her ailing daughter.

Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju, representing the ED, contended before a bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul that the plea was incorrect and devoid of merits.

Singhal, a former state mines department secretary, has been in custody since May last year, after raids were conducted at properties connected with her. She has been accused of money laundering.

The bench, also comprising Justice Abhay S. Oka, directed the ED to submit its reply in three weeks to Singhal’s bail plea. Singhal’s counsel urged the apex court to take a lenient view in the matter and contended that her daughter needed to be looked after due to a medical condition. Raju submitted that he will be the last person to oppose such petitions.

The ED has claimed that its team seized more than Rs 36 crore cash linked to alleged illegal mining as part of two separate money laundering investigations.

After arguments in the matter, the top court granted interim bail to Singhal and scheduled the matter for further hearing on February 6. The court also imposed some condition on the petitioner, which included that she would abstain from visiting Ranchi unless a court case is listed there.

The bench also ordered that the ED, in the meantime, would verify the medical status of the daughter of the petitioner and inform it.

The top court’s order came on a plea filed by Singhal challenging the Jharkhand high court, which dismissed her bail plea. The ED’s raids were linked to a money laundering probe in connection with a case of alleged corruption in the MGNREGA scheme. A chartered accountant linked to Singhal and her husband were also arrested by the agency.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed.)

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