The Central Bureau of Investigation summoned West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's Director of Security Gyanwant Singh on May 4 at the Kolkata CBI office for interrogation in relation to the Coal Scam case. Last month, in a big development to the West Bengal coal smuggling case, the CBI had issued summon to prime accused Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Vinay Mishra, a day after he was granted bail by the Calcutta High Court. He was granted bail in connection with the cattle smuggling case until May 3 on the condition that he appeared before the CBI on the same date.
Singh, an IPS officer was appointed as the new director of security by the West Bengal government in March this year after the Election Commission eliminated Vivek Sahay over the Nandigram incident in which Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sustained injuries. Gyanwant Singh has held the post of Additional Director General (Security) prior to his new responsibility. He is considered close to CM Banerjee. The agency is of the view that the scam arising out of illegal mining from abandoned quarries of Eastern Coalfields, runs into several thousands of crores of rupees. Anup Majhi, the alleged kingpin of the multi-crore-rupee coal scam due to illegal mining operations at the Eastern Coalfields Ltd mines in West Bengal's Asansol. CBI had raided several of Majhi's premises in Kolkata and in Asansol and Ranigunj. Agencies suspect that Majhi used to launder his criminal proceedings through the Hawala route and reportedly provided money and muscle power to politicians during elections. The case is being jointly probed by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED), while the West Bengal Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has also formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT).
Earlier, the CBI had interrogated TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee's wife Rujira Banerjee and sister-in-law Maneka Gambhir in this multi-crore-rupee coal scam. The investigating agency had also interrogated Gambhir's husband and father-in-law in connection with the same.
This development in the coal scam probe surfaced a day prior to the counting of votes for West Bengal Assembly elections.
As per the Republic-CNX poll projected the BJP trumping TMC. The saffron party has been projected to win 138-148 seats, crossing the halfway mark of 146 seats - making it the largest party. Meanwhile, TMC is projected to win 128-138 seats, and the Congress-Left alliance projected to win 11-21 seats. The two-term CM & TMC Supremo Mamata Banerjee faces a stiff challenge from the emerging BJP, the Congress-Left-ISF alliance and AIMIM. Crucially, the exit poll has predicted a contest too-close-to-call for the Nandigram seat where CM Mamata Banerjee went toe-to-toe against her former aide Suvendu Adhikari.
The eight-phased State Assembly Elections has been concluded as of April 29. The counting of votes will be held on May 2.
The voter turnout for the seats that went to the polls in the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth phases was 84.63 per cent, 86.11 per cent, 84.61 per cent, 79.90 per cent, 79.18 per cent, 79.09 per cent,75.06 per cent and 76.07 per cent respectively.