Home Dehradun Harak Singh Rawat issued another summons for 2 Apr by ED

Harak Singh Rawat issued another summons for 2 Apr by ED


By Arun Pratap Singh

Dehradun, 27 Mar: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has sent yet another summons to senior Congress leader and former Cabinet Minister Harak Singh Rawat in a money laundering case and the “illegal felling” of large number of trees in Corbett National Park when he was the State Forest Minister. It may be recalled that Harak Singh Rawat had been summoned in the past, too, along with his wife Deepti Rawat and daughter-in- law Anukriti Gusain but had failed to appear. His daughter-in-law and appeared before the ED then.

As per the ED, Harak Singh Rawat has been asked to appear on 2 April. The ED had also raided some of their locations in Dehradun and Delhi. Even a large property allegedly owned by Anukriti Gusain on Haridwar Bypass where a restaurant is running at present and the Ayurvedic Medical College in Sahaspur operated by Harak Singh Rawat’s son were raided.

The ED’s action is related to the inquiry being conducted into illegal tree cutting, illegal construction and many other cases in Corbett National Park during the tenure of the then Forest Minister, Harak Singh Rawat. Rawat’s wife, Deepti Rawat, and others have also been summoned in the month of April. So far, Harak Singh Rawat has shied away from commenting on the latest summons issued to him and other family members.

It is worth noting that ED had raided 17 places, including the houses of Harak Singh Rawat and some of his close associates Virendra Singh Kandari and former IFS officers Kishan Chand and Brij Bihari Sharma in connection with the money laundering case in February this year. Then the ED team had recovered cash worth Rs 1.10 crores and about 1.3 kg of gold worth Rs 80 lakhs. Apart from this, ED also recovered foreign currency worth Rs 10 lakh. Taking action, ED also seized bank lockers and confiscated digital equipment and documents related to immovable properties.

Some time ago, the ED had issued a press note saying that Virendra Singh Kandari and Narendra Kumar Walia, along with Harak Singh Rawat, had hatched a criminal conspiracy and registered two powers of attorney for one plot of land. This land had apparently belonged to someone who had died but had been shown as living during the time of the sale deed registration by the accused. This sale deed had come under investigation when the BJP was in power with Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank being the Chief Minister. After this, the accused had illegally sold that land to Harak Singh Rawat’s wife Deepti Rawat and Lakshmi Singh, on which the Doon Institute of Medical Science, Dehradun, has been constructed under the Purnadevi Memorial Trust. The Uttarakhand Police had registered a case in this matter and had launched investigations into the case. Police have invoked various sections of IPC 1860 against Virendra Singh Kandari and others in this case. Apart from this, Harak Singh Rawat has also been accused of misuse of government funds.

According to ED’s allegations, various sections of Forest Conservation Act, Wild Life (Protection) Act and PC Act 1988 have been imposed against several accused including former IFS officer Brij Bihari Sharma and Kishan Chand. It is alleged that all of them, along with the then Forest Minister Harak Singh Rawat, had violated the rules of the Uttarakhand government and had got a tender published for a higher amount than the financial powers permitted for them. According to the ED, investigation has revealed that he misused the money under Tiger Conservation Foundation and CAMPA heads by making fake documents. Along with this, instead of 163 trees in Corbett, more than 6000 trees have been cut illegally. However, Congress had called it action taken out of malice. Harak Singh Rawat has claimed in this case that he is ready to face punishment if found guilty. Harak had also claimed that during his tenure he has not got even a single tree felled illegally.