The CID on Friday night arrested businessman Randhir Singh from his home in West Burdwan’s Andal for his alleged involvement in a coal smuggling case.
Sources said Singh, the first such catch since the state agency began to probe coal smuggling complaints lodged by Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL) with the police, would run an unauthorised opencast coal mine within the leasehold area of ECL in Andal. The ECL had lodged a complaint against him with Andal police last year.
A CID team led by DSP Kaushik Ghosh raided his residence on Friday night and arrested Singh.
The additional chief judicial magistrate court in Durgapur on Saturday remanded Singh in CID’s custody for 10 days. The CID took him to Calcutta for further interrogations.
“We will interrogate him in our custody and arrest other members of the coal syndicate. He used to operate an unauthorised opencast mine within the ECL jurisdiction and a case against him has been pending since last year,” said a CID officer.
Sources said Singh was also a part of the coal smuggling syndicate allegedly run by Anup Majhi a.k.a Lala who is absconding after the CBI started a case against him last November and followed it up with raids at his homes and offices in Purulia, Durgapur and Calcutta. However, the CBI is yet to arrest anyone.
The CID also raided three flats of Joydeb Khan, a businessman facing coal smuggling charges, in Durgapur’s Bidhannagar area on Saturday. Khan, who recently joined the BJP in Calcutta, was not present.
The coal smuggling issue has become a political tool for both the BJP and the Trinamul to blame each other this poll season.
“The CID has raided the flats of a coal smuggler who is now in BJP's shelter. People are watching everything and will defeat the BJP for their role in coal smuggling,” said Uttam Mukherjee, Trinamul leader in Durgapur.
West Burdwan BJP president Lakshman Ghorui said once the CBI nabs Anup Majhi, the alleged kingpin of the coal smuggling syndicate, the “truth will come out”.