Trinamool Congress general secretary Abhishek Banerjee on Friday shared photographs purportedtly of Union minister Prahlad Joshi with an alleged “coal mafia” and accused the central investigation agencies of turning a blind eye to the issue.
Sharing the photos on his Twitter handle, Banerjee said the central agencies were “ignoring the mafia-minister nexus.”
“I wonder what minister @JoshiPrahlad is doing with tainted coal mafia, Joydeb Khan! Is he discussing ways of filing @BJP4India’s pockets or congratulating him on siphoning the Nation’s resources? The @dir_ed and the CBI have conveniently ignored this Mafia-Minister nexus,” Banerjee wrote.
The Indian Express could not independently verify the contents of the image and cannot vouch for its authenticity. Sources said the purported photos are from the Union minister’s recent visit to Durgapur in West Bengal.
Sharing the tweet, state minister Babul Supriyo also wrote, “The man standing 2nd frm left, right beside Hon’ble Coal Min @JoshiPralhad ji is a FAMOUS Coal Mafia of Asansol. Man marked red is BJP MLA from Durgapur Lakshman Ghorui & beside him marked in blue is @BJP4Bengal’s Subrata Mishra who bribed big wigs of BJP to get ticket frm Kulti.”
TMC state general secretary Kunal Ghosh demanded that matter must be probed by the CBI and the ED which is already investigating the coal pilferage scam in which Abhishek Banerjee has been questioned on a number of occasions.
“The CBI and the ED should immediately bring this issue under the ambit of their ongoing investigation. Joydeb Khan has several cases registered against him. His three flats were raided by the CID in 2021. He is facing probe in the coal smuggling case. What was he doing there? Why had he gone there to meet the Union minister? What is Khan’s equation with the BJP? This must be probed and the Union minister be made a party in the case,” said Ghosh.
Responding to the TMC’s allegation, senior BJP leader Rahul Sinha said, “Investigations into coal smuggling cases are on. Several TMC leaders are involved in this. The TMC is trying to divert the attention of the people by making baseless allegations. Such photos prove nothing. This is an attempt to malign the image of the Union minister.”
BJP MLA Lakhsman Ghorui, who was also seen in one of the photographs, said, “The Union minister came and I went to meet him to discuss some issues. Joydeb Khan last year joined our party and several cases have been lodged against him since then. The TMC is diverting the attention from their misdeeds.”
Abhishek meets Birbhum leaders
Abhishek Banerjee on Friday held a meeting with party MLAs and leaders from Birbhum district at his office in Camac Street in Kolkata.
Banerjee asked the district leadership to ensure a free, fair and peaceful panchayat polls next year and also shared organisational responsibilities of the districts. Senior leaders Chandranath Sinha, Abhijit Sinha, Asish Bandopadhyay and Bikash Roy Chowdhury will look after the party affairs in Birbhum in the absence of party heavyweight Anubrata Mondal who is in jail custody following his arrest in the cattle smuggling case. It was also decided in the meeting that Mondal will remain the district party president.
TMC leader Chandranath Sinha said, “It was purely an organisational meeting. All will work together for the people in view of the upcoming panchayat polls.”