Kolkata, Sep 24 | A West Bengal IPS officer posted as ADG in the state Criminal Investigation Department, Gyanwant Singh was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate in a multi-crore coal smuggling case at the agency’s New Delhi office on Friday.
Sources in the ED said that Gyanwant Singh was questioned by the investigators under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The ED officials believe that there was involvement of some police officers in the case and as Gyanwant Singh was ADG (Law and Order) between 2019 to 2021 when the smuggling took place, the investigators wanted to know from Singh whether he was aware of the coal smuggling taking place in Birbhum, West Burdwan, Purulia and Bankura districts of West Bengal. And if he was aware, what action was taken against the smugglers.
The ED also claims certain police officials of the state, especially of Bankura Police Station, were involved in transporting cash in official police vehicles.
Ashok Mishra, a police officer from Bankura Police Station, was earlier arrested by the ED.
Gyanwant Singh, a 1993 batch IPS officer, was heading West Bengal’s law and order till March 2021.
After Trinamool Congress’ Abhishek Banerjee and his wife Rujira Banerjee and law minister Moly Ghatak, he is the fourth person to get a call from the central agency investigating the coal scam. Though Rujira Banerjee refused to go to Delhi, Abhishek Banerjee went to the ED office in New Delhi on September 6 and was interrogated for nine hours. He was again called the next day but he refused to go. Later the ED issued a fresh notice and asked him to appear on September 21 which he avoided again. Ghatak also skipped the interrogation for the second time.
The case, under criminal sections of the PMLA, was filed by the ED after studying a November, 2020 FIR of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that alleged a multi-crore coal pilferage scam related to the Eastern Coalfields Ltd mines in the state’s Kunustoria and Kajora areas in and around Asansol. A local Anup Majhi alias Lala is alleged to be the prime suspect in the case.
The ED had earlier claimed that Ghatak was a beneficiary of funds obtained from this illegal trade. According to ED sources, the investigators have spoken to more than one person in this connection, collected information and recorded their statements. The name of Ghatak has come up on several occasions during these interrogations. Apart from the ED, the CBI is also investigating the coal scam.