ED seizes Rs 1.10 crore; Raid was conducted on the premises of officials including former Forest Minister Harak Singh Rawat.

The ED raid on former Forest Minister Harak Singh Rawat, forest officials and their close ones in the case of tree felling, illegal construction and land fraud in the Pakharo range of Jim Corbett Sanctuary lasted for more than 24 hours. ED raided 17 places in Delhi and Haryana including Uttarakhand and seized cash worth Rs 1.10 crore, 1.30 kg gold worth about Rs 80 lakh and foreign currency worth Rs 10 lakh. The ED team also seized many bank lockers, digital equipment and seized all the documents of immovable properties.
The name of Chief Forest Conservator Sushant Patnaik is not mentioned in the official statement issued by ED on Thursday. On Wednesday, ED had also raided his residence in Dehradun. It was revealed that cash worth crores was found here, machines were also called to count the amount. However, ED officials are not saying anything officially about this. On Wednesday morning, the ED had raided the premises of Harak Singh Rawat (now a Congress leader), who was the Forest Minister in the previous BJP’s Trivendra Singh Rawat government, his close associates and some forest officials.

This action was taken by Chief Forest Conservator Sushant Patnaik, retired DFO Kishan Chand along with former personal secretary of Harak and former general secretary of Uttarakhand Secretariat Association Birendra Kandari, BJP’s Udham Singh Nagar District Minister Amit Singh, former District Panchayat President of Rudraprayag Lakshmi Rana and This was done at the premises of property dealer Narendra Walia. After the raid which continued till late night, ED issued an official press statement of the action on Thursday evening. The ED press statement mentioned that the raids were conducted in two separate cases. In which the first case is related to the land of Doon Institute of Medical Sciences located in Shankarpur, Dehradun of Tushit Rawat, son of Harak Singh Rawat.
In the case of land buying and selling, ED has based its investigation on the FIR of the earlier case registered against Birendra Singh Kandari and others. The former minister’s involvement in land fraud has been mentioned. Whereas, the second case is related to the FIR registered against former DFO Kishan Chand, then Ranger Brij Bihari and others in the case of illegal felling of trees and illegal construction in the Pakhro range of Corbett Tiger Reserve. In this case also, former minister Harak Singh Rawat has been said to be involved in the scam.

High Court canceled the sale deed, yet the land was sold
ED has said in its official statement that former minister Harak Singh Rawat conspired with Narendra Walia and prepared two powers of attorney. Which was canceled by the court. This land was shown to be sold illegally to Harak Singh Rawat’s wife Deepti Rawat and Lakshmi Singh. Doon Institute of Medical Sciences has been constructed on this land under Smt. Purna Devi Trust.

Abused financial powers while being a minister
Regarding tree felling and illegal construction in Corbett Tiger Reserve, ED has said that retired DFO Kishan Chand and Ranger Brij Bihari Sharma entered into a criminal conspiracy with other officials and the then Forest Minister Harak Singh. Everyone colluded and tendered at higher rates.
Harak Singh Rawat misused his financial powers while being the Forest Minister. They also tampered with the documents and misused the budget received under Tiger Conservation Foundation and Campa heads. This amount is in several crores. Also, more than 6000 trees were cut arbitrarily instead of 163.
Even though the raids against former Forest Minister Harak Singh Rawat and other persons associated with him have been completed, the investigation is still in progress. The documents seized by ED in the raids conducted at 17 locations will now be examined. Whatever things will come to light in the investigation, further action will be taken accordingly.

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