Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials began an early Thursday morning search at theresidencesofWest BengalministerJyotipriyoMallickin connection with an ongoing probe into the alleged multi-crorerationdistributionscam.
TheEDsleuthsraidedtwo flats belonging toMallick, the state’s forestminister, at Kolkata’s Salt Lake area, supported by a teamofcentral forces, an officer said.
The ruling Trinamool Congress termed theraidsas “nothing but political vendetta” amid festivities in the state.
Search operations were also underway at eightotherflats including theresidencesofMallick’s former personal assistant, while he was the foodminister, he said.
“There are eight officers conducting the exercise atMallick’sresidences. We are also conducting searches at his former personal assistant’sresidencein Dum Dum, and at a fewotherplaces,” theEDofficer told PTI.
The central probe agency had arrested one person who allegedly has close links to theTMCas well asMallick, he said.
Mallickis being questioned about his connection with the arrested person, the officer said, adding, theminister’s bank accounts are also being scrutinised.
TMCleader and stateministerShashi Panja criticised theraidsatMallick’sresidences, asserting that “this is an attack on the cultureofBengal at the timeof‘Bijoya Dasami’. This is nothing but vendetta politics. We have seen there wereraidsat our leaders’ places before Durga Puja when we were demonstrating, demanding releaseof(MGNREGA) funds”.
“We are not surprised at such search operations as they (central agencies) have identified certain targets… And this will continue,” Panja alleged.
Meanwhile, BJP leader Rahul Sinha claimed that theTMCis “deeply mired in corruption”, with severalofits leaders facing allegationsofcorruption.
“Whenever theEDor CBI conductsraidsatTMCleaders’residences, they cry foul and describe the exercise as being politically motivated. The reality is… nearly everyTMCleader is facing corruption allegations,” Sinha said.
Officialsofcentral probe agencies recently conducted searches at various locations in the state, including at theresidenceofFood and SuppliesMinisterRathin Ghosh and Urban DevelopmentMinisterFirhad Hakim.
(Published 26 October 2023, 05:20 IST)