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Coal pilferage case | CBI interrogates three railway officials

Central Bureau of Investigation HQ, in New Delhi.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Central Bureau of Investigation on Thursday interrogated three railway officials of Asansol Division in connection with its probe into the multi-crore coal pilferage scam, sources said.

The chief controller and senior divisional operations manager of Eastern Railway's Asansol Division, and the station manager of Barabani were questioned by the anti-corruption branch of the central agency, the sources said.

The officials were asked to explain how 500 tonnes of "stolen" coal was kept at railway siding areas under their jurisdiction.

The "stolen" coal had been subsequently seized by Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL) in December 2019, the sources said.

The CBI is also interrogating close associates of kingpin Anup Majee, alias Lala, the prime accused in the case.

Mr. Majee, the director of a company engaged in the purchase and sale of the dry fuel, has been evading arrest.

The investigating agency has already interrogated two businessmen, Randhir Barnwal and Manoj Agarwal, in connection with the alleged illegal coal mining in the Asansol-Raniganj belt of West Bengal.

The CBI on Tuesday had raided premises of people in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, who it suspected have links with Mr. Majee.

The central agency on November 28 last year carried out a massive search operation in several locations in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh after registering a case against Mr. Majee.

The CBI had acted on information from "reliable sources" indicating illegal excavation and theft of coal in the leasehold area of ECL in "connivance" with the officials of the miner, CISF and Railways.

A CBI team had on February 23 visited the residence of Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee and examined his wife Rujira in connection with the case. The agency also examined Rujira's sister Menaka Gambhir on the previous day on the same matter.

The MP is West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's nephew.

Apart from the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate, another central agency, is also probing the illegal coal mining case.

The CBI is looking after the criminal aspect of it and the ED is delving into the money laundering angle of the scam.

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Printable version | Apr 23, 2021 5:42:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/coal-pilferage-case-cbi-interrogates-three-railway-officials/article33988487.ece

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