The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) carried out day-long raids at West Bengal law minister Moloy Ghatak’s properties in Asansol and Kolkata on Wednesday in connection with a coal smuggling case.
After the CBI officers left in the evening, he held a press conference and expressed his displeasure with the actions of the agency.
“I was baffled by the CBI’s behaviour today… It seemed that they had come with the intention of tarnishing my name. The CBI has seized my assembly bank account documents and 3 smartphones along with their SIM cards”.
Ghatak said he had Rs 14,000 in cash with him, which was not seized by the agency. “My Lake Gardens property (in Kolkata) is purchased with bank loans. My Asansol properties are ancestral and co-owned by others in the family… I only have a small share,” he said,
Apart from being Bengal’s law minister, Moloy Ghatak is a very senior leader of the Trinamool Congress (TMC). The CBI raids against him have triggered a political buzz.
“I will quit politics if anyone apart from the BJP and its supporters in Asansol say I have made money from coal smuggling," he said.
Ghatak also said he had not spoken to party chairperson and chief minister Mamata Banerjee. “But I will report the day’s developments to her," he added.
He said he had missed attending important meetings scheduled for the day because of the CBI’s action. “They never sent me a notice for questioning," he maintained.
Earlier, TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee had lashed out at central agencies and the Bharatiya Janata Party after he was questioned for 8 hours recently by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the coal scam.
Ghatak, the Asansol Uttar MLA, had appeared once before the ED at its New Delhi office for questioning in connection with the case. He, however, skipped several other summonses.
The BJP said that if the minister has done no wrong, he has nothing to fear. “If someone has committed no wrong, why is he afraid to face the ED and CBI?" BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said.