Kolkata: Bengal law minister and Trinamool veteran Moloy Ghatak became the second member of Mamata Banerjee's cabinet after dismissed colleague Partha Chatterjee to face interrogation and raids on his properties by a central agency in yet another case involving alleged corruption in the top echelons of the state administration.
CBI officials probing the coal-pilferage case questioned Ghatak at his residence for over five hours, coinciding with raids on eight premises linked to him. The minister said the exercise was nothing but a ploy to malign him. "Asansol has a population of 10,00,000. No one other than BJP (in that belt) will say that Moloy Ghatak is involved in coal pilferage," Ghatak said. "I was asleep in my official quarters when they reached my Asansol home. They found only Rs 18,000 in cash at my Kolkata residence, which they omitted from the seizure list, deeming it ‘insignificant’. I told them to finish the search by 1pm because I had an important meeting to attend. They didn't listen to me."
The law minister was seen stepping out of his residence and getting into a waiting car at 4. 30 pm. The raids came a day after the law minister used his official Twitter handle to take a dig at Union home minister Amit Shah, calling him "a complete disaster". Ghatak tweeted, "Horrifying state of affairs in our country under the watch of [email protected]!"
He had earlier called the ED and CBI "two new puppets" of the BJP-led government at the Centre. A CBI officer said the minister's name "surfacing" in the coal pilferage scam was backed by "incriminating documents" seized from his home.