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ED raids Uttarakhand Congress leader Harak Singh Rawat

Initial reports suggested that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) was conducting raids at over 10 locations across Uttarakhand and the Delhi-NCR region.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) launched raids against Uttarakhand Congress leader and former minister Harak Singh Rawat in connection with a money laundering case, as per reports by news agency PTI citing officials.

Initial reports indicated that over 10 locations in Uttarakhand and Delhi-NCR were being targeted in the raids conducted by the ED. According to PTI, the searches were carried out at multiple premises in Uttarakhand, Delhi, and Chandigarh. The ED’s investigation is believed to be linked to alleged illegal activities within Uttarakhand’s Corbett Tiger Reserve.

Harak Singh Rawat switched allegiance to the Congress party before the 2022 Uttarakhand assembly elections, following his dismissal from the state cabinet and the primary membership of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for six years due to alleged “anti-party activities”. The BJP secured victory in the Uttarakhand elections for a second consecutive term.

In a significant development last year, the Central Empowered Committee of the Supreme Court held Harak Singh Rawat, former Uttarakhand forest minister, and the then divisional forest officer (DFO) Kishan Chand accountable for various illegal activities, including constructions related to a tiger safari in 2021, within the Pakhro and Morghatti forest areas of the Kalagarh Forest Division of the Corbett Tiger Reserve.

The committee’s report, submitted to the apex court following a petition by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, found Harak Singh Rawat and Chand culpable for construction activities linked to the tiger safari and other illicit projects in the Pakhro and Morghatti forest areas. Additionally, it authorised the Uttarakhand vigilance department to pursue legal action against the forest officials involved in the irregularities.

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