Pooja Singhal, a 2000-batch IAS officer, was arrested by the agency on May 11.

Casting its net far and wide in Pooja Singhal corruption case, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on May 24 conducted raids in seven places in Bihar and Jharkhand. Among the places raided six are in Jharkhand and one in Bihar.

The ED grilled District Mining Officer of Sahibganj Vibhooti Kumar and Ranchi DMO Sanjiv Kumar, which revealed many secretes on the case. Both officials were questioned for 11 hours and were put facing each other by the investigators. A top ED official, part of the investigation, on condition of anonymity told The Daily Guardian Review that during the course of interrogation both DMOs fought with each other when they were asked about working for personal benefit of Pooja.

According to sources, the ED investigators asked them for details of their income and properties they owned. The officials were asked about the details of all properties, both moveable and immoveable, they owned before they joined the government service and after that till date, when they bought those properties and what were the sources of funds to buy those properties. The answers the officials provided did not satisfy the ED investigators, however. Pooja Singhal had no plausible answers and she was rather trying to beat about the bush to confuse the investigators.

Vibhooti Kumar, the Sahibganj DMO was asked about illegal mining in his district, say ED sources. He was also grilled on smuggling of stone chips and allocation of mining lease. But he was unable to provide satisfactory answers to his interrogators. His Ranchi counterpart, Sanjiv Kumar, was asked questions about granting of mining lease to the Chief Minister and its surrender by him, among other things.

The Sahibganj DMO, say top ED sources, was shown a list of politicians and bureaucrats after which Vibhooti Kumar was asked to provide the names of those in this list who he favoured. He was also asked to provide the details of the people who he gave money and when. His interrogators also asked him how much money he earned out of illegal mining.

Vibhooti Kumar, the Sahibganj DMO, had allegedly granted mining lease to two politicians who hold sway in the corridors of power. His interrogation, thus, assumes significance in view of involvement of powerful politicians. The Ranchi DMO Sanjiv Kumar, on the other hand, is being interrogated by the ED, because a mining lease was granted to the most important person in the Jharkhand state and the issue has now gone to the courts. Soon the ED is going to interrogate some bureaucrats and politicians who are expected to spill the beans.

Pooja Singhal, a 2000 batch IAS officer, was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on May 11. A raid by the ED in early May had led to the recovery of Rs. 17.49 crore from the residence of Suman Kumar, a chartered accountant associated with Singhal and her husband Abhishek Jha.

The ED had, in fact, been keeping an eye on the Jharkhand mining secretary since 2012. An FIR was registered against her in a case of MNREGA funds embezzlement on May 18 that year in Khoonti, which took place between 2008–2010 when Pooja Singhal was Khoonti DC.