Listen to this article:
New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation is conducting searches at the premises of West Bengal law minister Moloy Ghatak in connection with its probe into alleged coal pilferage from Eastern Coalfields Ltd mines in Asansol.
After education minister Partha Chatterjee, held in connection with the teacher recruitment scam, and Anubrata Mondal, held over a cow smuggling case, Ghatak is the third high profile leader of the Trinamool Congress to be brought under a central agency’s scanner.
TMC head and Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew, MP Abhishek Banerjee, and his wife Rujira, are also being questioned by the Enforcement Directorate in its money laundering probe related to the same coal smuggling case.
CBI officials first reached two buildings considered to be residences of Ghatak in Asansol city. One of the houses was locked, reports local media.
Searches were also carried out at five locations associated with Ghatak in Kolkata.
The multi-crore coal pilferage scam is related to the Eastern Coalfields Ltd mines in the state’s Kunustoria and Kajora areas.
The CBI had registered an FIR in November 2020 against the alleged kingpin of the pilferage racket, Anup Manjhi alias Lala, ECL general managers Amit Kumar Dhar and Jayesh Chandra Rai, ECL security chief Tanmay Das, Kunustoria area security inspector Dhananjay Rai and Kajor area security in-charge Debashish Mukherjee.
The FIR said that “illegal excavation and theft of coal” from the leasehold area of ECL, was taking place “in active connivance of the officials of ECL, CISF, Indian Railways and concerned other departments.”