Calcutta HC Stays FIR Against CBI Sleuth Probing Coal Scam

Kolkata:  A single-judge bench of the Calcutta High Court, on Wednesday, stayed the FIR by West Bengal police against Umesh Kumar, the key Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officer involved in the probe in coal smuggling case in West Bengal.

The FIR was filed on June 21 at the Bishnupur Police Station under Diamond Harbour subdivision in South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal alleging that Kumar had threatened and put pressure on some residents of Bishnupur to give statements as per their instructions and also record those statements. A special team of Diamond Harbour district police has started a probe in the matter.

However, on Wednesday, Calcutta High Court’s single-judge bench of Justice Bibek Chaudhuri stayed the FIR for six weeks.

On Wednesday, the CBI counsel, Samrat Goswami argued in front of the bench of Justice Chaudhuri that the FIR was filed on the basis of false allegations. Goswami also alleged that the motivated FIR was filed intentionally to influence and create hurdles in the process of investigation in the coal smuggling scam.

Umesh Kumar was a part of the CBI team who went to the residence of Trinamool Congress’ national general secretary and the party MP, Abhishek Banerjee’s residence in South Kolkata on June 14 this year to interrogate his wife Rujira Narula Banerjee in connection with the coal scam. Incidentally, Abhishek Banerjee, the nephew of Mamata Banerjee, is the party MP from Diamond Harbour Lok Sabha constituency.

Besides CBI, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is also conducting a parallel probe in the coal smuggling case in West Bengal. Abhishek Banerjee himself has faced questioning from both these agencies in this connection. The name of his wife surfaced after the investigating sleuths traced a bank account purportedly held by her in Bangkok where a huge amount of money reportedly involving the coal smuggling scam was transferred. Rujira Narula Banerjee, however, has denied knowledge of the said bank account.