Media reported that the Central Bureau of Investigation conducted searches at around 13 locations in West Bengal in connection with an alleged coal theft case. CBI raids were spread across Purulia, Bankura, Burdwan and Kolkata. The searches included premises of Amiya Steel Pvt Ltd in Kolkata and Bankura and that of Joydeb Mandal, the alleged deputy of the suspected kingpin of the racket Anup Manjhi. Central Bureau of Investigation also issued a notice to West Bengal’s Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee’s nephew & Trinamool Congress MP from Diamond Harbour Mr Abhishek Banerjee’s wife Ms Rujira in a coal smuggling case. The CBI believes Ms Rujira could provide information related to the case, and hence, wants to question her.
The alleged kingpin of the racket is Mr Anup Majhi alias Lala. The CBI has conducted several raids on his hideouts in the past few months, but Lala remains elusive. The central agency has also raided properties linked to him or his associates as part of the probe. Another prime accused in the case is Trinamool youth leader Mr Vinay Mishra. The BJP alleges that Mr Mishra is close to Mr Abhishek Banerjee and the two have together travelled abroad several times. The CBI has conducted multiple raids to nab Mr Mishra as well, but he too remains elusive.
The CBI had registered an FIR in November in 2020 against Manjhi alias Lala, Eastern Coalfield Ltd General Managers Mr Amit Kumar Dhar of then Kunustoria area now Pandaveswar area and Mr Jayesh Chandra Rai of Kajor area besides ECL Chief of Security Mr Tanmay Das, Area Security Inspector Mr Kunustoria Dhananjay Rai and security in charge Kajor area Mr Debashish Mukherjee. On November 28, the agency had raided around 45 places in Bengal in relation to the case. Sources say illegal coal worth billions was smuggled in these border areas with the help of government officials and politicians.