Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Bengal coal scam: ED gets access to crucial diary detailing ‘protection money’ paid to cops

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) probing the multi-crore coal smuggling case in West Bengal has been able to access a diary, which reportedly has details of the “protection money” paid by the operators of the racket to local cops at different levels.

Sources said that from the contents on the diary, it is clear as to what amount of money was paid to three levels of district police — sub-divisional police officers (SDPO), circle inspectors (CI) and officers-in-charge (OC) — at different police stations mainly in Birbhum, Bankuram West Burdwan and Purulia districts. The rates, as per contents of the diary, ranged between Rs 5,00,000 and Rs 7,00,000.

Assuming that the rates mentioned in the diary were paid on a monthly basis, the ED is wondering if such were the rates for comparatively lower levels of cops like SDPOs, CIs and OCs, what could be the share of the proceeds that would have been doled out to higher ranked officials, including those in the police.

The ED officers have also made a rough calculation of what could be the amounts that have been paid as “protection money” by those in the coal smuggling racket and as per the initial estimates, the amounts paid under this head over the last five to six years had been nothing less than Rs 200 crore, sources said.

The ED has already questioned a number of top officials of West Bengal police, from additional director general (ADG) to police superintendents (SPs) in connection with the case. All these officers were in-charges of districts, zones or areas, through which coal smuggling took place.

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