CBI summons Trinamool MLA over coal smuggling scam

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has summoned Trinamool Congress MLA Saokat Molla in connection to a coal smuggling case in West Bengal.

Mollah is the party’s sitting MLA from the Canning (East) Assembly constituency in South 24 Parganas district.

He has summoned to appear at the CBI’s office in Kolkata on Friday at 11 a.m.

CBI sources said that although the coal-belt of Asansol in West Burdwan district was the base of smuggling rackets, the investigating sleuths have recently identified several points where the coal smuggled illegally were sent to different areas in the state.

“Now Jeebantala area under Molla’s constituency, Canning (East) houses several brick kilns that require huge amount of coal at cheaper rates to successfully operate. We have come across many such brick kilns in Canning (East) which had been getting regular supply of smuggled coal. Our investigators doubt that the local MLA acted as a mediator in this supply and hence he has been summoned for questioning on Friday,” a CBI official said on the condition of anonymity.

Incidentally Molla’s residence is also at the Jeebantala area.

Molla has however, denied his involvement, saying: “This is a sheer political conspiracy to frame me.”

The MLA also said that he was yet to decide about his appearance before the CBI on Friday.

Molla is a two-time Trinamool Congress MLA since 2016.

Before the change of guards in West Bengal in 2011, Molla was an active member of the erstwhile ruling party CPI(M) and was also considered as the right-hand man of former Land Reforms Minister, Abdur Rezzak Mollah in the previous Left Front regime.

After 2011, Molla shifted to Trinamool Congress and became an MLA from Canning East for the first time in 2016. He was re-elected from the same constituency in 2021.

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