Coal pilferage scam: CBI questions key accused Anup Majhi for

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8 hrs, asks him to appear again on Apr 1 (Eds: Adds inputs) Kolkata, Mar 30 (PTI) The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday questioned Anup Majhi alias Lala, the alleged kingpin of the multi-crore-rupee coal scam, for eight hours and asked him to appear before it again on April 1, sources in the agency said.

He reached the agency's Nizam Palace office here this morning and was interrogated in connection with the illegal coal mining in Eastern Coalfields Ltd mines in West Bengal's Asansol, they said.

Majhi, over the past four months, had been evading the agency's notices and a look-out circular issued against him, the CBI sources said.

The Supreme Court had restrained the agency from arresting him till April 6.

'The petitioner shall not be arrested until April 6.

This order has been passed without going into the merit of the case. We clarify that this order will not restrain the investigation,' a bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud had said.

The bench, also comprising Justices M R Shah and Sanjiv Khanna, directed that Majhi shall cooperate in the probe.

The multi-crore-rupee coal pilferage scam is related to the Eastern Coalfields Ltd mines in the state's Kunustoria and Kajora areas.

The CBI had earlier carried out raids on Majhi's office premises, residences and other properties in Asansol, Ranigunj and Kolkata.

The agency is of the view that the scam, arising out of illegal mining from abandoned quarries of Eastern Coalfields, runs into several thousands of crore of rupees.

Part of the crime proceeds has been transacted through the hawala route for which the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has also joined the probe.

The CBI had registered an FIR in November last year against Majhi, ECL general managers Amit Kumar Dhar and Jayesh Chandra Rai, ECL security chief Tanmay Das, Kunustoria area security inspector Dhananjay Rai and Kajor area security in- charge Debashish Mukherjee. PTI DC BDC BDC