The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has summoned the suspected kingpin of a coal scam, sources said on Sunday. The agency directed Anup Majhi alias Lala to appear for questioning on Monday.
According to the CBI, Majhi, in connivance with officials and security officers of Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL) officials, illegally mined coal in the ECL’s leasehold areas. The agency has alleged that a section of officers of the Railways and other departments were also involved. According to sources, seven people are under the scanner.
The CBI recently raided 40 premises in West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand in connection with the alleged scam. The agency’s anti-corruption branch registered an FIR in Kolkata on November 27 under sections of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, dealing with criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust by public servants, and criminal misconduct by public servants.
Apart from Majhi, those named in the FIR include former ECL general manager (Kunustoria area) Amit Kumar Dhar, general manager (Kajora area) Jayesh Chandra Rai, chief of security (Asansol) Tanmoy Das and security in-charge (Kajora) Debashish Mukherjee.
In the FIR, the CBI claimed the coal mafia was active in Paschim Bardhaman district. The mafia was operating in collusion with officials of the nationalised coal company, it said. Apart from illegal coal mining, the operation also involved coal theft from railway sidings, it added. According to the FIR, during a joint inspection by the Vigilance Department and an ECL task force in several leasehold areas under the coal company, evidence of extensive illegal mining and its transportation was found. A large number of vehicles and equipment used in the operation were seized, the CBI added.
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