ED attaches Rs 21.96 cr assets in NH74 widening case

The Logo of Directorate of Enforcement. (DH photo)

Assets worth Rs 21.96 crore were attached under the anti-money laundering law in an alleged corruption case related to the widening of the NH-74 in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, the ED said on Tuesday. 

The provisional order for attachment of the assets was issued under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the agency said. 

The attached properties belong to special land acquisition officers, landowners, farmers, and middlemen. The assets include agricultural and industrial land, commercial plots and buildings located in Dehradun and Udham Singh Nagar districts of Uttarakhand, and Rampur district in Uttar Pradesh. 

Deposits in 11 bank accounts and mutual funds have also been attached, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) said. 

The central probe agency said it initiated the probed under the PMLA in the case on the basis of an FIR and charge sheet filed by the Uttarakhand Police against Dinesh Pratap Singh, revenue officials, farmers, and middlemen. 

Singh and Anil Shukla, officials working in the capacity of the competent authority of land acquisition then, entered into a conspiracy with other public servants, farmers, and middlemen for misappropriation of government funds by granting compensation at a non-agricultural rate, the ED said. 

The compensation at the non-agricultural rate is much higher than the agricultural rate, it said.

"The higher compensation was paid on the basis of backdated order passed under section 143 of the Uttar Pradesh Zamindari and Land Reform Act, 1950 for changing the land use from agriculture to non-agriculture and subsequent backdated entries in revenue records and documents, " it said. 

"These forged or backdated documents were projected as genuine at the time of awarding the compensation which resulted in the loss of Rs 215.11 crore to the government," the agency alleged. 

The ED said it was found in the probe that the farmers and the landowners who got higher compensation had utilized the excess amount in buying immovable properties, making deposits in a bank and giving commission to revenue officers. 

Further probe is underway, it said. 

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