Monday, August 15, 2022

Coal scam: Large amount of cash was transferred to accounts of arrested ECL officials

As the sleuths of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) go deeper in the probe into the coal smuggling case in West Bengal, the probe officials are coming across massive unauthorised financial transactions involving the seven past and present officials of Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL), who are currently under custody of the Central probe agency.

According to highly-placed CBI sources, huge cash amounting to around Rs 10 crore were transferred to the bank accounts of these seven ECL officials in between 2018 and 2020.

“This is precisely the period when coal smuggling became rampant in the coal belts of the state,” said a CBI official, who did not wish to be named.

The agency officials suspect that the actual unauthorised financial transactions involving these ECL officials are much higher.

“We have just got information of this amount of around Rs 10 crore by checking a few bank accounts held by these officials. In the next stage, we will examine the bank accounts and the asset details of the immediate relatives of these ECL officials. We are sure that more such unauthorised transactions will be unearthed,” a CBI source said.

It is further learnt that a large percentage of the money that was transferred to bank accounts of these seven ECL officials was either withdrawn or transferred elsewhere within days after they were deposited. The CBI sleuths are currently trying to track the trail of this withdrawn or transferred cash.

On Wednesday evening, the CBI sleuths arrested seven officials, including a serving general manager of Eastern Coalfields Limited, in connection with the coal smuggling scam in West Bengal.

Sleuths of CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED), who are conducting the probe into the coal smuggling case, have already questioned Trinamool Congress’ National General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee and his wife Rujira Narula Banerjee in connection with the case.

The ED had recently summoned state Labour Minister Malay Ghatak and Trinamool MLA from Baghmundi in Purulia district, Sushanto Mahato, at its Delhi office. However, both dodged the summon.

The probe agencies are suspecting financial transactions to the tune of Rs 1,300 crore in the scam.

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