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After BJP-TMC Tussle Over Raids on a Firm, It’s ED Vs Kolkata Police Now Amidst a Flurry of Exchanges – News18


The ED said the company raided is suspected of money laundering and has directors, who are parents of TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee and brother of West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. (Image: PTI/File)

The Kolkata Police started a preliminary probe against ED officials after a company executive accused the central agency of downloading “foreign files” in one of the computers seized during the searches

A political slugfest has started between the Trinamool Congress and BJP after raids at Kolkata’s Leaps and Bounds Pvt Ltd last week, and this is now followed by a police versus police tussle. History seems to be repeating itself with the Kolkata Police starting a preliminary inquiry against officers of the Enforcement Directorate.

The central agency has been accused of downloading 16 “foreign files” in a computer during a search at the company’s office premises. The concerned ED officer was asked to appear before the Kolkata Police to which the agency expressed its inability citing directions from the Calcutta High Court. It stated that the complainant (the company) in the matter is “suspected of money laundering” and it has directors, who are parents of TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee and brother of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

There was a series of communications between the two investigative parties after a company executive filed a complaint with Kolkata Police on August 25. While there is no FIR in the matter, the ED officer was asked to appear before Kolkata Police on August 30.

Kolkata Police, however, has started a preliminary probe into the matter, which was also referred to the Calcutta HC, a senior ED officer said. In a letter dated August 30, the ED wrote to the cyber police station of Kolkata Police stating that the high court, while hearing the matter on August 29, directed the ED “to expedite the investigations”.

Following HC directions, the ED said its officers are “preoccupied in investigations” and, hence, it is not in a position to spare them to appear at the cyber police station.

According to the senior ED officer, they have requested Kolkata Police to share details of any forensic examination of the computers or seizure after the ED’s search. The central agency has further said the company is also “suspected of the offence of money laundering in the biggest recruitment scam in the history of the state of West Bengal”.

News 18 has copies of all related documents.

Not the first time in Bengal

West Bengal has been witness to similar showdowns between two police organisations, including the series of FIRs and counter FIRs against each other in 2019, 2020 and 2022. In the earlier instances, the FIRs were registered in connection with the ED and CBI’s probes into the Saradha ponzi scam; the latest tussle has stemmed from the ED’s investigation into a money laundering case and subsequent raids at the office of Leaps and Bounds Pvt Ltd.

In this case, the ED is probing the alleged teacher recruitment scam and searched the premises of the private entity. A senior source in the ED said there were five computers in the office, out of which only three were taken for examination. One of the officers in the team used one of these computers to search for hostel accommodation for his daughter and, in the process, downloaded a list of hostels “inadvertently”.

“This is nothing illegal, but not professional. We will take this up in a departmental inquiry,” said another senior officer. News 18 reached out to Kolkata police commissioner Vineet Goyal but he was unavailable for a comment at the time of filing this report.

What is Leaps and Bounds Pvt Ltd?

The company master data accessed by News 18 shows it was incorporated in 2012, a year after Mamata came to power in the state. As per records of the registrar of companies, it has two directors – Lata Banerjee and Amit Banerjee, who are the parents of Abhishek. Lata became a director in 2012 while Amit got the position in 2014.

‘Intimidation’ trick

Reacting to such fresh raids and summons days ahead of the crucial meeting of INDIA coalition, senior Trinamool leader Sushmita Dev said this was “intimidation” tricks by the Modi government.

“The process of investigation is punishment in itself. Such raids are conducted and repeated summons are issued to intimidate the Opposition leaders. The agencies delay chargesheet and prolong this process. Our leader Abhishek Banerjee has been requesting the agency to file the chargesheet, so that we can contest them. But they will keep delaying it. The conviction rate of ED is the lowest in country,” she added.

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