West Bengal Justice Minister Moloy Ghatak failed to appear before the Law Enforcement (ED) Directorate here on Wednesday for questioning in a case of alleged theft of coal from the mines of Eastern Coalfields Ltd. in Asansol.
Ghatak was summoned by the ED on September 10 to appear before investigators at its headquarters here on Wednesday (September 14) in the coal smuggling and money laundering case the agency is investigating.
Earlier this month, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) questioned Ghatak and carried out searches at its premises in West Bengal as part of its investigation into the alleged coal theft case.
The ED filed a money laundering complaint against Ghatak based on the CBI’s First Information Report (FIR).
Earlier, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek and his wife Rujira were interviewed by ED.
The case, filed under the criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), was brought by the ED after investigating a November 2020 FIR from the CBI which alleged a theft scam of multi-crore coal tied to the mines of Eastern Coalfields Ltd in the Kunustoria and Kajora areas of the state in and around Asansol. Local state agent Anup Majhi alias Lala is believed to be the main suspect in this case.
The ED had previously claimed that Ghatak was a beneficiary of funds obtained from this illegal trade. According to ED sources, investigators spoke to more than one person about it, gathered information and recorded their statements. Ghatak’s name came up several times during those interrogations, officials said.
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