CBI launches new searches in coal theft case allegedly involving ECL officials
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday launched a new round of searches at five locations in the Asansol region of West Bengal in connection with the alleged large-scale theft of coal through illegal mining by Anup Manjhi in collusion with Eastern Coalfields officials. Ltd (ECL) and others, officials said.
The CBI had launched a massive search operation in 45 locations in four states on November 28 after registering the case, and on Tuesday the agency began searches again at official and residential facilities of the accused ECL officials in the Asansol region, they said. .
CBI teams also began scanning documents seized during searches on November 28, when they recovered Rs 40 lakh in cash, documents, electronic devices and financial transaction instruments, they said.
The agency can send digital evidence for forensic analysis to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), they said.
The CBI registered the case on Friday against Manjhi, ECL General Managers Amit Kumar Dhar (from then Kunustoria area now Pandaveswar area) and Jayesh Chandra Rai (Kajor area) as well as ECL security chief Tanmay Das, inspector of Area Security, Kunustoria Dhananjay Rai and SSI and the Area Security Officer Kajor Debashish Mukherjee.
Defendant Manjhi alias Lala is alleged to be involved in illegal mining and stealing coal from ECL’s leased mines in the Kunustoria and Kajora areas, they said.
The CBI had acted on the basis of information from “reliable sources” indicating the illegal excavation and theft of coal in the ECL leasing area in “collusion” with ECL, CISF and Railroad officials.