The Dirty Linen Club
Ex-minister Harinarayan Rai first in the country to be convicted under PMLA
Ten years ago, independent legislator Harinarayan Rai, known for his Machiavellian manoeuvring, made the most of Jharkhand’s fractured 2005 mandate to register a meteoric rise in the state’s politics. Alongside other independent MLAs, Rai wielded enormous power in Jharkhand, as he switched sides to make and break three successive governments.
But in a sharp turn in fortunes, 12 years since he started out, the one-time ‘kingmaker’ finds himself cooling his heels in jail. On January 30, an Enforcement Directorate special court pronounced Rai guilty of offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and handed him a seven-year jail term. He was also fined Rs 50,000.
Rai is the first person in the country to be convicted under PMLA. The exminister was accused of laundering Rs 3.72 crore, illegally amassed between 2005-08. It’s Rai’s second conviction in two months. Now 55, Rai will have company in prison. The court handed wife Sushila Devi and brother Sanjay Rai identical sentences for abetment.
JAIL TIME Ex-minister Harinarayan Rai after the verdict