The Enforcement Directorate has summoned seven Bengal IPS officers, including Gyanwant Singh, the head of the CID, in connection with the ongoing probe into the multicrore coal pilferage case.
The officers have been given a freedom to choose from either turning up physically or attending the questioning session through virtual medium. Each of the seven have been assigned specific dates between July and August for their hearing.
“Each of these officers have been responsible for policing the zone from where coal used to be illegally pilfered and transported out in trucks,” said a senior ED officer. “The money that was collected has travelled several routes to reach destinations beyond the country. We would like to understand what was the role of these officers in ensuring there was no illegal pilferage of coal.”
Some of these IPS officers have been recently responsible for policing in different districts, including Purulia, Birbhum, East Burdwan, Nadia and Murshidabad.
The CBI, which is primarily probing into the alleged siphoning of coal worth several hundreds of crores from parts of south Bengal, have already questioned some of these IPS officers. In May, a team of CBI officers had questioned Singh at Nizam Palace. Officers had then argued that Singh was in charge of the state’s law and order when most of the pilferage had taken place. Before being the top cop in charge of law and order, CBI officers said, Singh was also in charge of Bengal’s western zone that covers some of the collieries from where the alleged pilferage had taken place.
Singh has been summoned to appear before the ED on August 5.
Koteswara Rao, who was the superintendent of police of Bankura and faced CBI interrogators in April, has been summoned for questioning on July 26.
S. Selvamurugan, Shyam Singh, Sukesh Jain, Rajeev Mishra and Tathagata Basu are the five other IPS officers summoned by the CID.
While the CBI is probing into the crime behind the alleged pilferage, the ED is investigating the trail that hundreds of crores of rupees, which the trade had generated, had travelled.
In the course of the probe both the central agencies have knocked on several addresses of the alleged mastermind of the pilferage business Anup Majhi alias Lala. In June, a team of officers from the ED had visited Majhi’s ancestral home in Purulia in search of some documents.
The Trinamul Congress termed the ED summoning the seven officers as a politically motivated act aimed at breaking the morale of a section of IPS officers in the state.
“This will go on from time to time. The two central agencies will continue to question different sets of police officers,” said a senior leader of the Trinamul Congress. “The BJP is yet to come to terms with the defeat in Bengal and hence, all these activities.”