Coal Scam Case: CBI raids Bengal law minister Moloy Ghatak’s residences

7 September, 2022 | Vaishali Sharma

CBI Headlines

In connection with the coal smuggling case, a team of CBI agents visited the three homes of West Bengal law minister Moloy Ghatak in Asansol on Wednesday. Raids are being carried out at seven diffe...

In connection with the coal smuggling case, a team of CBI agents visited the three homes of West Bengal law minister Moloy Ghatak in Asansol on Wednesday. Raids are being carried out at seven different locations across the state, including Asansol and Kolkata. Moloy Ghatak has already been questioned by the ED in connection with the case.

Based on a November 2020 FIR issued by the CBI, the ED has filed a case under the anti-money laundering statute alleging a multi-crore coal pilferage scheme involving Eastern Coalfields Limited mines in the state’s Kunustoria and Kajora districts in and around Asansol. The CBI claims that a scam operating in the western areas of West Bengal, where the Eastern Coalfields Limited operates numerous mines, sold unlawfully mined coal worth several thousand crores on the black market over a period of several years.

The coal fraud is the same case in which Abhishek Banerjee has been questioned multiple times by the ED.

In November 2020, the CBI registered the coal smuggling case. The allegedly unlawfully mined coal, worth thousands of crores of rupees, is said to have been sold by a scam operating in western West Bengal, where the Eastern Coalfields Limited operates many mines. The earnings from the coal trade are said to have gone to political figures.

The ED also questioned Trinamool National General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee for eight hours last Friday in connection with the issue. He said that the Central Industrial Security Force, an entity that reports to the union Home Ministry, patrols all of these coal mines. Right after his interrogation, he unleashed a harsh assault on Home Minister Amit Shah and the BJP, accusing the Centre of exploiting central agencies for political benefit.

In addition, the ED has summoned eight Indian Police Services officers from West Bengal to New Delhi for questioning in connection with the coal smuggling case.

Mr Banerjee hit out at the Centre saying instead of questioning officers of the CISF, who are in charge of security there, officers of the state police are being harassed.

In July, CBI filed its first charge sheet in the Bengal coal smuggling case against 41 people, including Anup Majhi, alias Lala, the alleged kingpin of the operation, along with former Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Vinay Mishra among others.

Until now, the ED and CBI have detained two TMC heavyweights, Partha Chatterjee and Anubrata Mondal. While the ED detained Chatterjee in connection with the suspected School Service Commission (SSC) recruitment scam, the CBI arrested Mondal in connection with an alleged ‘cattle smuggling’ case.