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Money laundering: ED attaches assets of Jharkhand Naxal operatives under PMLA

The Enforcement Directorate said on Thursday that it has attached assets worth Rs 2.89 crore in connection with a money laundering probe initiated against alleged Naxal operatives of Jharkhand. The attached assets include immovable and movable properties held in the name of Maoists like Binod Kumar Ganjhu, Pradeep Ram and their family members, the central probe agency said in a statement. An order for provisional attachment of the properties has been issued by the ED under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The immovable properties are located in Hazaribagh district of Jharkhand and movable properties include cash of Rs 1.49 crore seized from the houses of accused persons, five vehicles worth Rs 89 lakh as well as bank balances in eight bank accounts totalling to Rs 35.18 lakh, it said. The money laundering probe case pertains to illegal collection of levy from the contractors and coal merchants through criminal extortion and intimidation in Magadh-Amrapali coal area in Chatra district of the state by members of banned Left Wing Extremist organisation Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC). TPC has been banned by the Jharkhand government and most of its cadres are former members of the CPI (Maoist). The ED case was filed on the basis of state police FIRs against the accused. Binod Kumar Ganjhu, Pradeep Ram along with other Naxals were running local committees in name Magadh Organizing Committee and Amrapali Shanti Samiti and in the guise of these committees, the accused used to extort levy from contractors, transporters, delivery order holders and coal merchants which was further handed over to the members of TPC, the agency alleged. The accused had started proprietorship in their own name and acquired vehicles out of levy amount for transportation of coal to further launder the extorted levy as genuine money whereas the same were proceeds of crime generated through aforesaid criminal activity, it charged.