ED questions ex-Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi

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The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday questioned former Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi for over six hours in a money laundering investigation linked to an alleged sand mining case in the state.

The officials on Thursday said ED recorded the statement of Channi under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and he left the ED’s zonal office in Jalandhar late on Wednesday night.

Channi’s nephew Bhupinder Singh alias Honey was arrested in this case by ED days before the February 20 Punjab Assembly polls. A charge sheet was filed against him and others named in the case early this month.

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According to a news report, ED questioned Channi, who had earlier skipped a few summons, about his links with Honey and others and about certain visits his nephew made to the chief minister’s office. He was also questioned about the allegations of certain transfer and posting of officials in the state as part of the illegal sand mining operations.

The ED action in the case began on January 18 after it conducted raids against Honey and others and seized about Rs 7.9 crore cash from his premises and about Rs 2 crore cash from a linked person identified as Sandeep Kumar.

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The agency had said that it recorded statements of Kudratdeep Singh, Bhupinder Singh (Honey), Honey’s father Santokh Singh and Sandeep Kumar during the searches and it was “established” that the seized Rs 10 crore “belonged to Bhupinder Singh s/o Santokh Singh”.

“Further, Bhupinder Singh accepted that he received the seized cash in lieu of facilitation in sand mining operations and transfer/postings of officials,” the ED had claimed in a statement.