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Extortion allegation

Asansol, July 23: The owner of a sponge iron factory in Jamuria, located less than 100 metres from Shyam SEL Power Ltd, last night lodged a police complaint against three local Trinamul workers accusing them of demanding money from buyers of factory waste.

The authorities of Satyam Smelter Pvt Ltd, which makes sponge iron and iron billets, said they sold coal char, a factory waste, to different buyers who transported them in trucks to various cement plants and soft coal factories as raw material.

“Three Trinamul workers — Hari Shankar Chatterjee, Arun Acharya and Mukti Mukherjee — extort money from the truck operators involved in transporting the raw materials and finished products from the factories in the area,” alleged a plant official on condition of anonymity.

The name of Alok Das, who has been accused of threatening and extorting Shyam SEL officials, has also popped up in the case. Factory hands in Jamuria said the Hari, Arun and Mukti were associates of Das.

Das has denied any association with them.

“They (the trio) have also been demanding Rs 20 per tonne from Sanjay Singh, a buyer of the factory waste. As a result, he is now refusing to purchase coal char from us. This has become a regular practice in the area. If we need to bring or send anything to or from our factories, we have to pay local Trinamul leaders or else they stop our trucks,” the official said.

The director and owner of the factory, Sivkumar Dalmia, said he had lodged a complaint with the police. “I have lodged a complaint with the police and it is now up to them to do whatever they feel right. I will not say any more on this as I am ill today,” he said.

Sanjay Singh, the buyer of the factory’s waste, said he was in Purulia for work and did not want to speak on this issue.

Hari Shankar Chatterjee, Arun Acharya and Mukti Mukherjee, who have been named in the complaint lodged by the factory, are residents of Ikra village in Jamuria.

The mobile phones of Hari and Arun were switched off.

Mukti Mukherjee, the third accused, said: “I have been in Chennai since July 14 for treatment.”

Additional deputy commissioner of police (central), Biswajit Ghosh, said: “We have started a specific case of extortion and criminal intimidation against the three persons named in the complaint.”