Kolkata. After West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee’s nephew and Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee and his wife Rujira Banerjee, the state’s Law Minister Moloy Ghatak also informed the Enforcement Directorate that there was no provision for them on Tuesday. It is not possible to go to ED office in New Delhi on Tuesday. He has suggested that ED officials may come to Kolkata to interrogate him. The ED had summoned Ghatak in the coal scam and money laundering case.
According to ED sources, the law minister of the state wrote a letter to the central agency saying that it would not be possible for him to be present in the ED office in such a short span of time. The minister instead proposed recording his statement in a video conference. Ghatak’s lawyer Diwakar Kundu is going to Delhi. The minister informed him that he had received the notice on 10 September, but the next two days were holidays and on 13 September there was a cabinet meeting. Therefore, it was not possible to prepare all the documents so quickly.
The minister also said that since he is posted in Kolkata and the ED has an office in the city, the officers can come to Kolkata and record their statement. The minister also said that he is ready to cooperate with the investigating agency to the best of his knowledge. After Abhishek Banerjee and his wife Rujira Banerjee, Ghatak is the third person to have received a call from the central agency probing the coal scam. Although Rujira Banerjee refused to go to Delhi, Abhishek Banerjee went to the ED office in New Delhi on 6 September and was questioned for nine hours. The next day he was called again but he refused to go. The ED has issued a fresh notice asking him to appear on September 21.
The case, filed under criminal sections of the PMLA, was filed by the ED after perusing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) FIR dated November, 2020 alleging coal theft worth crores of rupees related to the mines of Eastern Coalfields Ltd. was imposed. Anup Manjhi alias Lala, a local state operative in the Kunustoria and Kajora areas of the state in and around Asansol, is the prime suspect. The ED had earlier claimed that Ghatak was the beneficiary of the money received from this illegal trade. According to ED sources, the investigators have gathered information by talking to more than one person in this regard and have recorded their statements. In these inquiries, Ghatak’s name has come up on several occasions. Apart from ED, CBI is also probing the coal scam.
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