ED files charge sheet against arrested Bengal minister Jyotipriya Mallick

Kolkata: The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) has filed a Prosecution complaint (PC) against arrested West Bengal Minister Jyotipriya Mallick in a PMLA case related to alleged siphoning of PDS ration to open market.

Mallick, presently Minister-In-Charge of Forest Affairs and Non-Conventional and Renewable Energy, was the Food and Supplies Minister when the alleged scam took place.

The charge sheet, filed before the Special PMLA Court in the city, also alleged mixing of wheat flour in fresh flour and bogus paddy procurement.

The chargesheet was also filed against rice mill owner Bakibur Rahaman and others in the case.

The prosecution complaint under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, was filed on December 12 in the special court here.

“In the said complaint prayer has been made for confiscation of properties worth Rs. 32.44 crore which are allegedly acquired and derived from Proceeds of Crime (PoC), and include 101 immovable properties and balance in several bank accounts,” the ED sources said.

The court has also taken cognisance of the PC. The ED initiated investigation based on various FIRs registered by West Bengal Police wherein some private persons were allegedly found in unauthorised possession of PDS ration and involved in bogus procurement of paddy.

During ED investigation, three important modus operandi were detected concerning the alleged generation of Proceeds of Crime related to the PDS scam. It said NPG Rice Mill Pvt. Ltd. allegedly siphoned off the PDS atta/wheat flour in collusion with PDS distributors, Accused Bakibur is the owner of the NPG Rice mill, the ED said

“The PDS dealers and other persons thereby caused huge gain to themselves and corresponding loss to the Government funds and intended beneficiaries of PDS Scheme.

As per the evidence collected, approximately 25.55 percent quantity of the total atta required to be delivered to the PDS distributors was siphoned off. “It was also found that NPG Rice Mill

Private Limited was buying back the atta delivered to dealers through middlemen/agents and was mixing the same with fresh PDS atta and accordingly, the corresponding quantity of wheat was being allegedly siphoned off thereby generating proceeds of Crime.”

The modus operandi not only generated proceeds of crime but also affected the quality of atta delivered, the charge sheet mentioned.

“In another modus operandi, it was found that Proceeds of Crime were generated under the garb of paddy procurement in the name of fake farmers. It was found that the Miller (Bakibur Rahaman) was controlling or was hand in glove with many cooperative societies and by using the

names of his employees and relatives as “fake farmers” in the muster rolls, he received payments at MSP in the bank accounts of such employees and relatives.

“During the investigation, it was revealed that Bakibur Rahaman laundered the PoC through various companies, invested in the acquisition of various immovable properties and also transferred part of PoC to certain companies allegedly under the control and beneficial ownership

of Jyotipriya Mallick.

“During the investigation, the proceeds of crime allegedly derived from predicate offenses in the form of 101 immovable properties and Rs. 2.89 Crore (balance in the bank accounts) were provisionally attached on 11.12.2023,” the court was told in the charge sheet.

Earlier, Rs. 16.87 crore in certain bank accounts were also frozen. Jyotipriya Mallick and Bakibur Rahaman were arrested under section 19 of PMLA, 2002 and at present, both are under judicial custody, the ED said. UNI

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