Enforcement Directorate summons 4 officers
The Enforcement Directorate has summoned for questioning Bengal additional chief secretary B.P. Gopalika and the state’s security advisor Surajit Kar Purkayastha in separate cases.
The ED also asked former Bankura district magistrate S. Arun Prasad and former police commissioner of the Asansol Durgapur police commissionerate Laxmi Narayan Meena to appear before its sleuths for questioning.
B.P. Gopalika, additional chief secretary of the animal resources development department, has been summoned for appearance on March 24 in connection with the probe into the Metro Dairy disinvestment case.
The agency has already asked state home secretary H.K. Dwivedi to appear for a round of questioning in the same case. While Gopalika was the principal secretary of the same department, Dwivedi was the finance secretary when the state government had allegedly sold off its 47 per cent of share to Keventer Agro Limited for Rs 85 core. That was in 2017 and a Singapore-based company reportedly bought Metro Dairy’s 15 per cent share for Rs 170 crore the same year.
Over the following three years, the agency summoned several officials on many occasions to understand how the deal was carried out and whether there were any alleged irregularities. The investigators said they would check certain documents with the two IAS officers.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has already raised questions on the summons to senior officers of the state government.
“Why should state government employees be served notices?” Mamata had asked at a rally in Bankura on Tuesday. “Instead of running the country, the (Union) home minister is deciding from Calcutta who needs to be arrested.”
A day after Gopalika was asked to turn up for a round of questioning, the ED has summoned Purkayastha, who is also the former director general of police, in connection with its ongoing probe into Saradha deposit mobilisation scam.
A video clip shows Purkayastha attending an agent’s meet of the Saradha group.
The central agency also summoned Prasad and Narayan Meena in connection with the probe into alleged multi-crore coal pilferage case. Prasad and Narayan Meena were asked to face a round of questioning on March 23 and 24, respectively.
ED sleuths said there were reasons to believe illegal coal mining was carried out across those districts and would want to know from the two officers whether they were aware of it and if so, what steps they had taken to prevent it.
The summons to these two officers come within days of the agency arresting Vikash Mishra, brother of Vinay Mishra, the Youth Trinamul leader believed to be the prime accused in the multi-crore coal smuggling case.