Cattle and coal smuggling cases: ED searches Trinamul leader’s houses
The Enforcement Directorate on Friday searched at least two Calcutta addresses of Trinamul Congress youth wing leader Vinay Mishra in cattle and coal smuggling cases in Bengal.
Accompanied by CRPF personnel, two separate teams of the central investigating agency from Delhi carried out searches at Mishra’s residences in south Calcutta to find out whether he had transferred money from several banks to the alleged beneficiaries of the smuggling racket.
“Unlike the CBI, our focus in this particular case is on whether Mishra was involved in money laundering,” said a senior ED official.
The CBI, which is probing the alleged smuggling of cattle and coal across Bengal, had conducted searches at Mishra’s three residences in Calcutta on December 31. The businessman-turned-politician had not been found at any of the three addresses.
On January 27, the CBI special court in Asansol issued an arrest warrant against Mishra, who the central agencies believe, is possibly in the Gulf. The CBI has issued a lookout notice against Mishra.
Senior ED officers said Friday’s searches were aimed at trying to trace alleged beneficiaries of the racket. The CBI had earlier claimed that Mishra had maintained a list which included several politicians who had received money from the dealings.
Till late on Friday evening, officials remained tight-lipped about the findings from the search operations.
The BJP has called Mishra a “power broker” and its Bengal minder Kailash Vijayvargiya sought to link the CBI searches in December to chief minister Mamata Banerjee and her nephew and MP Abhishek. Trinamul said the searches were politically motivated ahead of the Assembly polls.
NIA and Naihati blast
The National Investigation Agency has recommended punitive action against North 24-Parganas district magistrate Chaitali Chakrabarti, Barrackpore police commissioner Manoj Verma and Pranab Naskar of the district industries centre for their alleged dereliction of duty in the wake of the blast at Naihati in January last year.
Five people, including two women, were killed and several others were injured. The NIA submitted its chargesheet in the case on Thursday. A letter recommending punitive action against the three reached Nabanna on Friday, sources said. The state government is yet to decide whether to act on the recommendation. Several senior officials said the recommendation was not binding on them.