Video from Jharkhand falsely shared as cash seized from Andhra Pradesh BJP leader

By: Rohith Gutta
May 7 2024

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Video from Jharkhand falsely shared as cash seized from Andhra Pradesh BJP leader

Screenshot of a social media post claiming that tons of cash was seized from the residence of an aide of BJP leader in Andhra Pradesh (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The video shows Enforcement Directorate officials seizing cash from the residence of a household help allegedly linked to a Jharkhand minister’s aide.

Claim ID 40911800

What is the claim?

In the run-up to the state and parliamentary elections in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, a 13-second clip of people arranging large stacks of currency notes is being shared on social media with the claim that it shows the cash recovered by a government agency from an opposition alliance candidate’s aide. The video features people speaking in Hindi and has been linked to the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) candidate contesting from the Anakapalli parliamentary constituency. 

Polling for both Assembly and Lok Sabha elections will be held in Andhra Pradesh on May 13. The  YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) is the incumbent party in the state, and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Jana Sena Party (JSP), and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have come together to challenge the ruling party. CM Ramesh from BJP is contesting as the alliance candidate from Anakapalli.

The viral video surfaced around May 6, when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed an election rally in Anakapalli. Archive versions of posts sharing the video can be accessed here and here.

Screenshots of the viral social media posts. (Source: Facebook/X/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, this video is not from Andhra Pradesh. It is from Jharkhand. 

What did we find?

There are no credible news reports about any seizure of cash from CM Ramesh’s house or properties linked to his aide.

We ran the keyframes of the viral video through a reverse image search and came across several related news reports. According to an NDTV report, that carried the same video, on May 6, the Enforcement Directorate (ED)— India’s federal economic crimes investigation unit— conducted several raids in Ranchi, Jharkhand, in connection with a case filed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The report stated that the raids were carried out at a dozen properties belonging to Virendra Ram, a former engineer with Jharkhand’s Rural Development Ministry. The report further stated that Rs 25 crore in cash was seized from the premises. 

According to an X post published on May 6 by news agency ANI (archived here) that carried the same video, the ED seized the money from the residence of Sanjiv Lal’s household help. Lal is Jharkhand’s rural development minister and Congress leader Alamgir Alam’s personal secretary. The seizure in Ranchi was made in connection with the Virendra Ram case filed in February 2023. The case deals with alleged irregularities in the implementation of various government schemes. A report in Hindustan Times corroborates these details.

Screenshot of the ANI post along with the video of the ED raid. (Source: X/ANI)

ED probe against Ramesh

It is to be noted that CM Ramesh, who joined the BJP in 2019, is facing charges in an alleged bank fraud case and is being probed in a separate case by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED. According to a report in Indian Express, a probe by the Income Tax Department had found suspicious transactions of about Rs 100 crore in a firm linked to the businessman-politician. The I-T Department had also conducted raids in 2018 at the firm's offices in connection with this case, the report added.  While the CBI case deals with  Ramesh allegedly trying to influence the investigation into his alleged income tax evasion case, the ED case pertains to money laundering allegations. His assets were also attached by the ED, and the case is still being investigated. When Ramesh switched parties, there were allegations that he did so to evade the probe by the central agencies.

The verdict

A video of Enforcement Directorate officials seizing cash from the properties allegedly linked to the private secretary to Jharkhand’s Rural Development minister has been shared as money recovered from the BJP candidate from the Anakapalli parliamentary constituency in Andhra Pradesh. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false. 

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