Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sleuths investigating the coal smuggling case in West Bengal filed its charge sheet at a special CBI court in Asansol on Tuesday where it named 41 individuals as involved in the scam.
The first name that figures in the charge sheet is that of the prime accused and the key operator in the coal smuggling racket, Anup Maji alias Lala. In the chargesheet, the central agency sleuths also named absconding youth Trinamool Congress leader Vinay Mishra and his brother Vikash Mishra. While Vikash Mishra is currently in the custody of the central agency sleuths, Vinay Mishra is believed to be hiding in Vanuatu Island with a different identity. CBI has already sought the help of Interpol to track him and also announced a cash award of Rs 1,00,000 on him.
Apart from that, CBI has also named in the charge sheet the names of eight present and former officials of Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL) who have been arrested by the central agency sleuths. In the charge sheet, the CBI has named these ECL officials both as the facilitators as well as the beneficiaries of coal smuggling.
At the same time, the CBI has named a total of 22 companies involved in the coal trading business. Out of 22 companies, 12 are mining companies. Apart from that in the charge sheet, CBI also has named a number of present and past police officials at different levels as the beneficiaries in the coal trade.
Anup Maji has been named as the principal mastermind behind the coal smuggling racket, who acted as the principal medium of contact between the illegal coal miners and traders and the different influential people in the political and administrative levels.
The sleuths of both CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is conducting a parallel probe on the money trail angle of the coal smuggling case, have already interrogated Trinamool Congress' national general secretary and party MP Abhishek Banerjee and his wife Rujira Narula Banerjee more than once in connection with the coal smuggling case in West Bengal.
Rujira has been mainly questioned about a bank account based in Bangkok, which is purportedly held by her and where huge accounts of cash were reportedly transferred from the bank account of Anup Majhi alias Lala. However, every time, she denied knowledge about the existence of any such account.
Trinamool Congress leadership has, however, claimed that such interrogations by the central agencies were results of BJP and Union government's political vendetta.
(With inputs from IANS)