CBI grills Anup Majhi for 5th time in coal smuggling case

Kolkata, April 10 (IANS) Anup Majhi a.k.a. Lala, the alleged kingpin of the illegal coal smuggling case is once again being questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday in connection with the case.

According to CBI officials, Majhi appeared before the CBI around 11 a.m.

A CBI official said that he is being questioned in connection with the case and about his financial dealings and his properties in the state.

The CBI had earlier grilled Majhi for several hours on April 1, 6 and 8, and on March 30 in connection with the case.

Majhi’s close aide Ganesh Bavaria was questioned on April 3, and Birbhum’s former Superintendent of Police Shyam Singh on April 1. The CBI had also questioned former Asanol Commissioner, Laxmi Narayan Meena in connection with the case.

On April 5, the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is probing the money laundering part, attached Majhi’s immovable assets to the tune of Rs 165.86 crore.

The attached assets include land, factory premises, plant machinery and other assets of two companies — Ispat Damodar Private Ltd and Sonic Thermal Private Ltd. The manufacturing plants of both these companies are situated in West Bengal’s Purulia and Bankura.

Majhi, the director of a company engaged in the purchase and sale of dry fuel, is accused of alleged illegal coal trading in the Asansol-Raniganj belt of West Bengal.

The CBI had registered a case involving alleged illegal coal pilferage in November last year, naming Majhi, Eastern Coalfield Ltd General Managers Amit Kumar Dhar and Jayesh Chandra Rai, ECL chief of security Tan Das, area security inspector Kunustoria Dhananjay Rai, and SSI and security in-charge Kajora area Debashish Mukherjee.

It had also recorded the statement of Rujira Banerjee, wife of Trinamool Congress MP and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee and his sister-in-law Menka Gambhir in the last week of February.

The agency has recently carried out searches at several locations in the state, including at the premises of Amit Agarwal, a close aide of Majhi, raising the heat in poll-bound West Bengal, where the ruling Trinamool and the BJP are engaged in a pitched battle.