Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], April 4 (ANI): Citing some leaked audiotapes, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Suvendu Adhikari on Sunday called the coal mining and cow smuggling the biggest malpractice and corruption in the history of West Bengal, allegedly co-sponsored by the Trinamool Congress (TMC)-led state government.
Citing the audiotapes, of talks reportedly between top TMC leadership, Adhikari said, "The facts that have come out is a definite proof that the complaints we and others have made are true. Many facts centring the Chief Minister's nephew have come to the fore."
Adhikari alleged that the corruption started from 2012-13 in coal, sand scam and cow smuggling and a total of Rs 950 crore have been transferred to Abhishek Banerjee by TMC leader Vinay Mishra, who has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
"I have complained many times that coal mafia, Anup Madri aka Lala, runs this racket. A portion of the police that are posted by 'bhaipo' (nephew) through the help of her aunt, those police officials are connected with the coal and sand scam and cow smuggling. Many people from TMC have avoided all questions on Vinay Mishra and this racket," he said.
"Yesterday's audio tapes prove that it was not for political motives or elections, but this was the biggest malpractice and corruption, co-sponsored by the state government in the history of West Bengal," he added.
He also called Abhishek Banerjee as the main architect of this corruption, adding that the TMC cannot deny their political affiliation with Mishra.
Addressing the media, BJP leader Dinesh Trivedi said: "Each kid knows the extent of corruption in Bengal. The tip of the iceberg is that this corruption is institutionalised as there are no jobs. People are scared due to tolabaazi (extortion), violence and bribery."
Asserting that there was an environment of fear in the state, Trivedi said that the people will give a befitting reply to the state government for this revelation.
"When people are aware of this situation, the Chief Minister cannot become Dhritarashtra, and I am not ready to believe that the CM was not aware of it," he said.
Amit Malviya, BJP's IT cell head, said: "Through these tapes, it comes to light that a large, widespread syndicate was operating in the state of West Bengal and it encapsulates our Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her nephew, extending to thousands of crores, was sorted illegally to cow smuggling, coal mining and human capital."
"Mamata Banerjee cannot evade responsibility for what is happening right under her nose. We would be naive to believe that Abhishek Banerjee was presiding over these syndicates and Mamata Banerjee did not know about it," he remarked.
Earlier, Vinay Mishra's brother Vikas Mishra was arrested in connection with the coal mining scam.
Anup Majhi aka Lala, the alleged mastermind of the illegal coal smuggling scam in West Bengal, appeared before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) at its Kolkata office for questioning last month.
According to the ED, on November 27, 2020, a case was registered by CBI, Kolkata against Amit Kumar Dhar, the then general manager, Kunustoria area, ECL Jayesh Chandra Rai, general manager ECL, Kajora Area, Tanmay Das, chief security, ECL Asansol, Dhansnjay Rai, Area Security Inspector ECL, Debashish Mukerjee, Security in charge, Kajora area, ECL, Anup Majee aka Lala and unknown officials of ECL, CISF, Railways, other department and unknown private persons for alleged commission of cognizable offence various sections of IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act.
Earlier, ED explained in detail in the remand application that the investigation was taken up to trace the proceeds of crime as it was revealed that "large proceeds of crime" were generated and laundered as a result of illegal coal mining. (ANI)
The CBI had earlier interrogated Abhishek Banerjee, his wife Rujira Banerjee and his sister-in-law Maneka Gambhir. The agency also interrogated Gambhir's husband and father-in-law in connection with the coal scam. (ANI)