The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) on Wednesday issued a press statement on searches conducted at the premises of a firm, Leaps and Bounds. The statement named Trinamool Congress general secretary Abhishek Banerjee as director of the company from 2012-14.
“Sujay Krishna Bhadra was also a director in this company from April 2012 to March 2016. Abhishek Banerjee, MP from TMC is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of M/s Leaps and Bounds Private Limited and was also a director from April 2012 to January 2014,” the statement added.
Sujay Krishna Bhadra alias ‘Kalighater Kaku’ (Uncle from Kalighat) was arrested on May 30, 2023 for his alleged role in the West Bengal school job scam.
The central investigation agency conducted searches under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 on August 21 and August 22,2023 at three premises in Kolkata linked to the accused Mr. Bhadra.
The ED stated that Mr. Bhadra was the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of M/s Leaps and Bounds Private Limited, “ a company charged with executing dubious transactions running into crores of rupees”.
During the investigation into the West Bengal School job scam the ED arrested seven persons including former education minister Partha Chatterjee and the total seizure and attachment in the case till date stands at Rs. 126.70 crore.
The searches and the ED’s statement have triggered a political slugfest in West Bengal.
“They have been subjecting out home to torture daily,” West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Tuesday. “Right after the boys returned, the day before yesterday (Sunday). Suddenly they went to four and five places”. The Chief Minister was probably referring to her nephew Abhishek Banerjee who recently returned to the city after going abroad for a visit.
On Wednesday, Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari took to social media platform ‘X’ and targeted the Trinamool leader.
“I would like to refresh someone’s memory, who keeps saying that he would voluntarily walk to the gallows and hang himself if the agencies find any evidence of wrongdoing against him; the people of WB aren’t bothered about your shenanigans, no need to walk to the gallows, just walk to the offices of the investigating agencies and cooperate. I hope this is enough to prod your conscience,” Mr. Adhikari said.
Mr. Banerjee also took to ‘X’ and shared an image of Mr. Adhikari purportedly accepting cash wrapped in a newspaper which was aired by Narada News days before the West Bengal Assembly polls in 2016.
“It’s my open challenge to the @dir_ed and @PMOIndia to take action against all FIR named accused in #NARADA starting with YOU!,” the Trinamool leader said.
Mr. Adhikari responded by pointing out that Mr. Banerjee should ask these questions of State Minister Firhad Hakim and MPs Sougata Roy and Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar whose videos were aired by Narada news.
“The image shared by you only shows me holding newspaper, but what I have shared, read it properly, it says during the search operations, various incriminating documents & digital evidence were recovered in connection with M/s Leaps and Bounds Pvt Ltd; a company you were the Director of from April 2012 to January 2014; a company which made dubious transactions running into crores of Rupees,” the BJP leader responded.
Despite his name figuring in the FIR in the Narada sting videos Mr. Adhikari has never been questioned by central investigation agencies. Mr. Banerjee has been questioned in the West Bengal school recruitment scam and other scams like coal pilferage scam over the last few years.