Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned a high-profile minister of West Bengal and a legislator of the ruling Trinamool Congress in connection with the coal smuggling case in the state.
Both have been asked to be present at ED’s New Delhi office on Friday. The two leaders who have been summoned by ED in this connection are the state labour minister, Malay Ghatak and the Trinamool Congress legislator from Baghmundi assembly constituency in Purulia district of West Bengal, Sushanto Mahato.
Although this is the first time that Mahato has been asked by ED to appear for interrogation, this is the fourth time that Ghatak is summoned by the central agency on this count.
ED sources said that this is the last summon that they are sending to Ghatak and in case if he dodges the summon this time as well, the agency sleuths will take strong legal action against him.
The ED sources said that they want to record the statements of Mahato and Ghatak. “While Ghatak has been under our radar for quite some time, recently Mahato’s named cropped up during interrogations,” said an ED official who refused to be named.
ED and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) are conducting parallel probes in the coal smuggling scam, in which financial involvement as estimated by the central agencies is around Rs 1,300 crore.
On late Wednesday evening only, the CBI arrested seven officials, including a serving general manager of Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL) in this connection. Some former general managers and a current manager of ECL were also arrested. They are being presented to a lower court in Asansol in West Burdwan district on Thursday.
The central sleuths have already questioned Trinamool Congress’s National General Secretary, Abhishek Banerjee and his wife Rujira Narula Banerjee in connection with the case.
According to Trinamool Congress state general secretary and party spokesman, Kunal Ghosh, the central agencies are being deliberately used by a politically bankrupt Union government after BJP was rejected by the people of West Bengal in the 2021 assembly elections.