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Sunday, April 11, 2021

ED to court: Mining accused paid Abhishek’s wife, sister-in-law ‘substantial amount’

The ED claimed that during questioning Ashok Mishra told the agency that this transaction was made at the behest of TMC youth leader Vinay Mishra and the funds were sourced from Majee.

Written by Deeptiman Tiwary | New Delhi |
Updated: April 8, 2021 5:35:50 am
Abhishek Banerjee

THE ENFORCEMENT Directorate (ED) on Wednesday told a special court that TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee’s wife Rujuira and her sister were paid “substantial amount” in London and Thailand by the key accused in the West Bengal illegal coal mining case. Abhishek is the nephew of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The agency made the claim while seeking further custody of arrested accused Ashok Kumar Mishra, the inspector in charge of Bankura Police station in Purulia district of Bengal, who is said to be a close associate of kingpin of the case Anup Majee alias Lala.

The ED claimed that during questioning Ashok Mishra told the agency that this transaction was made at the behest of TMC youth leader Vinay Mishra and the funds were sourced from Majee.

“He admitted that he arranged to transfer around [Rs] 1-1.5 crore to Delhi as asked by Vinay Mishra. This amount was arranged from Anup Majee through Niraj Singh [Majee’s accountant],” the ED submission said.

It said that Ashok Mishra “stated that Vinay Mishra was the secretary of TMC and was very close to MP Shri Abhishek Banerjee; that it’s a political pressure and knowing his clout in the party, he [Ashok] has to obey him [Vinay] or his career will be finished; that he facilitated in transferring funds through non-banking channel from India to London for a close relative of Shri Abhishek Banerjee; … that the subject transaction of Thailand was related to Rujira Banerjee who is the close relative of Abhishek Banerjee”.

The ED claimed that Niraj Singh “assisted in transferring substantial funds derived from POC [proceeds of crime] to Shri Abhishek Banerjee’s close relative (sister-in-law and wife) at London & Thailand”.

It claimed that from the seized records maintained by Niraj Singh and other digital evidences, it is found that the Ashok Mishra received Rs 168 crore as proceeds of crime through illegal coal mining and pilferage in just about 109 days in 2020. Records also show that in the past two years Majee generated Rs 1,352 crore through illegal coal mining, it said.

Citing the statement of a “close confidante” of Majee, the ED said that he conducted his illegal mining business “smoothly by managing senior functionaries of political party of West Bengal through Ashok Kumar Mishra”. Citing the same statement, it said that “major fund is distributed to manage the political stalwarts of the ruling party”.

The ED case is based on a CBI FIR of November last year in which the latter has already questioned Rujuira and her sister.

On November 27 last year, the CBI’s Kolkata Anti-Corruption Branch registered a case of corruption and criminal breach of trust with regard to illegal mining and pilferage of coal from leasehold area of Eastern Coalfields Limited in certain parts of West Bengal. The ECL is a wholly owned subsidiary of Coal India Limited, and does coal mining in West Bengal and Jharkhand.

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