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Coal pilferage case: CBI carries out searches at premises of West Bengal minister Moloy Ghatak


The CBI 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, officials said on Wednesday.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sleuths, aided by a huge contingent of central paramilitary personnel, have raided three houses of Ghatak in Asansol in Paschim Bardhaman district and two in Kolkata, they said.

The agency is also conducting searches at one of Ghatak’s close associates’ residence in Kolkata’s Alipore area and another in Diamond Harbour in South 24 Parganas district.

While the CBI team questioned the minister, who was present at his official quarters adjacent to Raj Bhavan in the city’s Dalhousie area, another team continued searches at his Lake Gardens home.

“As his name has surfaced in the coal smuggling scam, we need to find out what was his role in it. We have evidence of Ghatak’s involvement in the scam,” a CBI officer told PTI.

“The state minister is present at his official accommodation. We are questioning him and trying to get answers to some specific questions,” he added.

According to the official, during the raid at the minister’s Asansol house, the mobile phones of his family members were taken away and they have been made to sit together in a room.

In search of documents related to the scam, if the CBI sleuths are unable to find the keys of almirahs, they are breaking them open, he added.

Meanwhile, the areas around Ghatak’s residences are surrounded by central forces as the raids are going on, the official said.

Ghatak, the Asansol Uttar MLA, had appeared once before the Enforcement Directorate at its Delhi office for questioning in connection with the coal pilferage case.

He, however, skipped several other summonses of the ED in connection with the multi-crore coal pilferage scam 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.


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