Barely a month before the West Bengal assembly election — as announced today by the Election Commission — the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) are conducting raids across the state in connection with the coal smuggling case.
The ED and CBI teams are raiding the houses and offices of businessmen in West Bengal.
In southern Kolkata, the CBI searched the house of a businessman, identified as Ranjit, in the Bansdroni area. He is considered close to businessman Ganesh Bagaria who was allegedly involved in money laundering in the coal smuggling case.
At least 16 teams of the ED are conducting raids across West Bengal. One of the teams, which has reached Durgapur, is likely to raid a shopping mall.
In northern Kolkata, the ED raids are underway at Burrabazar, the largest wholesale market in India, and other places like Manicktala, Phoolbagan, Beliaghata.
Central security forces are accompanying the CBI and ED teams.
Earlier on 21 February, a CBI officials team had visited the house of Abhishek Banerjee, the nephew and heir apparent of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, to deliver the summons but Rujira was not present at the location.
The CBI is probing a multi-crore coal scam in Bengal wherein the agency is investigating two kingpins — Anup Majhi alias Lala, and Binay Mishra. Both are absconding and have been named by the agency as proclaimed offenders. The investigating agency has issued a look-out notice against both of them.
The CBI had registered an FIR in November last year against the alleged kingpin of the pilferage racket Manjhi alias Lala, Eastern Coalfield Ltd General Managers Amit Kumar Dhar (of then Kunustoria area now Pandaveswar area) and Jayesh Chandra Rai (Kajora area), besides ECL Chief of Security Tanmay Das, Area Security Inspector Kunustoria Dhananjay Rai and SSI cum Security in-Charge Kajor area Debashish Mukherjee.
It is alleged that Lala is involved in the illegal mining and theft of coal from leasehold mines of ECL in Kunustoria and Kajora areas, reports said.
There are 294 assembly seats in poll-bound West Bengal.