INX Media case: Court allows CBI to probe documents received from Switzerland

KOLKATA: The Central Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday interrogated a businessman in connection with its probe into the multi-crore coal pilferage scam, sources said.

The anti-corruption branch of the central agency quizzed Manoj Agarwal at its office here, they said.

The CBI had on February 27 questioned Randhir Kumar Barnwal, a city-based businessman, in connection with the alleged illegal coal mining in the Asansol-Raniganj belt of West Bengal.

Sources in the agency said the CBI is interrogating persons who are close associates of Anup Majee alias Lala, the prime accused in the case.

The anti-corruption branch of the CBI on Tuesday raided premises of people in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, who it suspected have links with Majee.

The agency sources said it is keeping a close watch on businessmen who have a close connection with the main accused of the coal scam.

Majee, the director of a company engaged in the purchase and sale of the dry fuel, has been evading arrest.

The CBI has also issued a look-out notice against him.

The investigating agency on November 28 last year carried out a massive search operation in several locations in four states — West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh – after registering a case against Majee.

The CBI had acted on information from “reliable sources” indicating illegal excavation and theft of coal in the leasehold area of Eastern Coalfields Limited in “connivance” with the officials of the miner, CISF and Railways.

A CBI team had on February 23 visited the residence of Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee and examined his wife Rujira in connection with the case.

The agency also examined Rujira’s sister Menaka Gambhir on the previous day on the same matter.

The MP is West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew.

Apart from the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate, another central agency, is also probing the illegal coal mining case.

The CBI is looking after the criminal aspect of it and the ED is delving into the money laundering angle of the scam.