• Punjab CM’s Nephew Bhupinder Singh Honey Arrested in Illegal Mining Case

      Digital Desk: The Enforcement Directorate arrested Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi’s nephew, Bhupinder Singh Honey, under money laundering accusations, in the illicit sand mining case, on Thursday late night. Reportedly, Honey was arrested by ED officers in Punjab after nearly eight hours of questioning under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Last month, the ED carried out a raid in Honey’s and others’ residences in Punjab’s Mohali, Ludhiana, Rupnagar, Fatehgarh Sahib, and Pathankot. The ED recovered almost Rs 10 crore in cash along with secret documents connected to the sand mining business, property transactions, mobile phones, gold worth Rs 21 lakh, and a Rolex watch of Rs 12 lakh in the raid.  As per reports, Rs 7.9 crore was seized from the properties belonging to Bhupinder Singh Honey, while Rs 2 crore was seized from the residence of another suspect, Sandeep Singh. As per ED’s investigation, Bhupinder Singh, Kudratdeep Singh, and Sandeep Kumar are directors of Providers Overseas Services Private Limited. All three are being probed for money laundering in connection with an illicit sand mining operation.  Reportedly, the business was set up in October of 2018. An FIR was lodged against Kudratdeep Singh in the unlawful sand mining case six months later. The ED believes that illicit money was used to secure the sand mine contracts. According to sources, the company that was launched is of a very tiny scale and is unlikely to get a contract for crores. For the illegal sand mining case, the investigation agency investigates Pinjore Royalty Company, its partners Kanwarmahip Singh and Manpreet Singh, Sunil Kumar Joshi, Jagveer Inder Singh, Randeep Singh, and Sandeep Kumar. Based on an FIR filed by the Punjab Police in 2018 under several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and a breach of the Mines and Minerals (Regulation of Development) Act, the ED launched the money-laundering investigation. On March 7, 2018, a team of officials from the Mining Department, the civil administration, and the police department conducted a surprise check in response to a complaint about illicit sand mining received at Punjab’s SBS Nagar Police Station. The team discovered that machines outside the approved area excavated several mines. Moreover, the investigative team captured and confiscated multiple tippers-trucks, porcelain machines, and JCB machines. The sand-filled tipper trucks seized were also discovered to be overloaded. The seized weighment slips with official stamps were allegedly falsified and were not issued by the appropriate office. Following this, the mining work at the Malikpur site was halted, and the crew decided to abandon the approval of weighment slips. According to the FIR, illegal mining activities were also carried out in Burjtahl Das, Barsal, Lalewal, Mandala, and Khosa, in addition to Malikpur in Punjab. As per reports, Honey is scheduled to appear in court today (Friday) to request custody in the case. Punjab’s opposition parties have accused the state administration of assisting those involved in illicit sand mining in the past. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) claimed in December 2021 that illegal sand mining was flourishing in Chamkaur Sahib, in CM Channi’s constituency. Meanwhile, the Punjab chief minister has claimed that the ED is working for the BJP, which the agency has rejected.

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