Trinamool Congress minister Jyotipriya Mallick is an influential person and hence it is important to keep him in custody, the Enforcement Directorate said in its plea before a Kolkata court as Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s trusted aide was arrested at 2.45am on October 27.
The Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR), exclusively accessed by News18, shows the central agency’s submissions in an effort to build a strong case against Mallick who is embroiled in the ration scam.
In its prayer, the ED begins with a reference to three FIRs that were lodged in 2020 about some people selling Public Distribution System (PDS) items without a licence. The agency said it took up the case in 2022 as it also had a money-laundering angle.
The ED said during its investigation into where the PDS items were coming from, they tracked down the source to NPG rice mill run by director Bakibur Rehman. ED said the mill was empanelled by the government and had siphoned off huge amounts of PDS material in the private market. Rehman was arrested last week and has reportedly admitted to the same, the agency wrote in its ECIR.
Apart from this, the ED has also made the following points in its plea:
• The agency has tried to establish the link between Mallick and Rehman through cancelled tickets, WhatsApp chats and the latter’s statement. According to the ED, Rehman’s WhatsApp chat with an employee mentions ‘MIC’ who, as per the agency, refers to minister in charge.
• ED also speaks about a maroon diary which they allegedly got by raiding the residences of Mallick and other accused. The agency says the diary mentions that money has been given to MIC ‘Balu da’ (Mallick’s nickname).
• Apart from this, the agency mentions cash transactions involving Mallick’s family members as well as formation of three shell companies that officials say were funded by Rehman on Mallick’s instructions. The directorate also claims that Mallick’s kin and domestic staff were directors in these companies.
• Further, ED says they interrogated the minister’s wife and daughter about their involvement in the shell companies which they denied. However, the agency said it seized stamps from their residence that substantiated ED’s claim.
• ED says PDS material was diverted to private players for personal gain instead of giving the same to beneficiaries. The agency adds that it has statements which corroborate that items have been siphoned off.
Rubbishing the ED’s charges, Mallick’s lawyer called it a “story” concocted by the agency that has no truth.
The agency was given the minister’s custody till November 6 but since he fell ill in court, he was taken to a hospital.
The TMC called Mallick’s arrest “political vendetta”, with Banerjee saying before the arrest that she would initiate a case against ED “if something happens to Mallick”.
Leaders Shashi Panja and Kunal Ghosh among others held press conferences through the day, backing the minister and calling out the “witch hunt”.
However, BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari said: “All the allegations against Mallick are true. The chief minister was aware of the same and she removed Mallick from the food ministry to protect him. Now, she should come under the purview of the investigation.”
This article has been republished from News18.com