The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said on Thursday that it has made two fresh arrests in connection with the agency's ongoing probe into the alleged multi-crore coal smuggling scam in West Bengal.
The two arrested persons are Sunil Jha, a former director of Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL), a subsidiary of Coal India Limited (CIL), and Anand Kumar Singh, a former inspector of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).
Sources said that both the arrested persons had close connection with the kingpin of the alleged scam, Anup Maji a.k.a. Lala. They were arrested after being questioned at the CBI's Nizam Palace office here on Thursday.
This is for the first time that a (former) CISF official has been netted by CBI in connection to its probe into the alleged coal smuggling scam. Sources said that lots of inconsistencies were detected in the statements given by Jha and Singh during questioning, following which they were arrested.
The duo will be presented before a special CBI court in Asansol on Friday.
On July 7, 2022, the CBI had filed a chargesheet at the same court against 41 accused persons, including former general managers, chief managers, and security officials of Eastern Coalfields Limited, as well as private persons and private companies.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday floated a proposal to the Union Coal Ministry to declare the illegal coal mines in the state as legal.
"Let the Union and state governments together do this. This will put an end to illegal supply of coal, and also confirm the jobs of those associated with these mines. This will also increase the government's revenue. I am requesting the Union Coal Minister to consider this proposal," Banerjee said.
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