Three companies with Trinamool Congress’s national general secretary, Abhishek Banerjee’s parents as directors or designated partners are currently under the scanner of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) probing the multi-crore coal smuggling scam in West Bengal.
The companies — Leaps & Bounds Private Limited, Leaps & Bounds Infra Consultants Private Limited and Leaps & Bounds Management Services LLP — attracted the attention of the investigating sleuths after the probe agency detected some fictitious transfers of funds.
In the case of Leaps & Bounds Private Limited and Leaps & Bounds Infra Consultants, Abhishek Banerjee’s parents, Amit and Lata Banerjee, are the directors.
In the case of Leaps & Bounds Management Services LLP, which is a partnership firm, Amit and Lata Banerjee are the designated partners.
All these three entities have the same registered address — P-733, Block-P, New Alipore Kolkata, West Bengal-700053
ED sources said that a massive amount of Rs 4.37 crore was transferred mainly to the account of Leaps & Bounds Private Limited from a real estate company purportedly owned by coal kingpin of scam, Anup Majhi alias Lala.
Agency sleuths are currently examining the books of accounts of all these three companies to trace similar fictitious transactions or transfer of funds.
In all probability, these entities acted as shell companies meant for the diversion of proceeds.
Before the 2014 Lok Sabha Sabha polls, Abhishek Banerjee himself was one of the directors of Leaps & Bounds Private Limited, as per records of the Registrar of Companies (ROC) under the Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
However, before filing his nomination as a Trinamool Congress candidate from THE Diamond Harbour Lok Sabha constituency in 2014, he resigned from the company.
Amit Banerjee joined as a board member of the company on January 2, 2014. However, Lata Banerjee was associated with the firm since its inception on April 19, 2012.
ED sources said that during Abhishek Banerjee’s six-and-a-half hour long interrogation on Friday, the ED sleuths quizzed him about his association with the companies to which he was unable to give any satisfactory answer.
After completion of the interrogation, reporters asked Abhishek Banerjee on what points was he question, to which he replied: “For the purpose of the decorum of the investigation process I am unable to divulge anything on this count.”
To recall, names of several shell companies surfaced during the probe by central agencies in case of West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC) recruitment irregularities scam and cattle smuggling scam.
Now, the same shell company angle emerged in the coal smuggling probe as well.