The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday informed a special CBI court in Asansol that former director of Eastern Coalfields Limited, Sunil Kumar Jha, and retired Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) inspector Anand Kumar Singh, who were arrested on Thursday in connection with the multi-crore coal smuggling case in West Bengal, were the prime beneficiaries of the alleged scam.
The CBI counsel informed the court that the probe agency has got specific information and evidence of Jha and Kumar receiving cash through coded vouchers from the kingpin of the alleged scam, Anup Maji a.k.a. Lala.
The CBI counsel claimed that these coded vouchers carried some coded messages regarding details of such illegal cash payments. The CBI counsel also presented some vouchers before the court.
He claimed that while Jha received a total amount to the tune of Rs 1.70 crore, Singh received Rs 11 lakh for facilitating coal smuggling in areas taken on lease by ECL.
Meanwhile, CBI sources said that on Thursday, both Jha and Singh were questioned together at the agency's Nizam Palace office in Kolkata. Initially, both refused to cooperate with the interrogating officers, and at a later stage, they made a number of contradictory statements. They were arrested after questioning on Thursday evening.
This is for the first time that a (former) CISF official has been netted by the CBI in connection to its probe into the alleged coal smuggling scam. On Friday, the special court remanded Jha and Singh to CBI custody.
On July 7, 2022, the CBI had filed a charge sheet 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.
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