The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday said it has attached properties worth Rs 13.63crore of a company linked to TMC youth wing leader Vinay Mishra and his arrested brother Vikas Mishra in a money laundering probe.
The investigation is linked to an alleged illegal coal mining and pilferage case of West Bengal that involves the two brothers, local coal operative and kingpin Anup Maji and TMC MP and Abhishek Banerjee, nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, and his wife Rujira.
Both Abhishek Banerjee and Rujira have been questioned by the agency in this case.
A provisional order for attaching the two assets, located in Gopinathpur of Purba Bardhaman district of the state, was issued on July 19 under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
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The immovable properties belong to Indo-American Electricals Limited (beneficially owned by LTB Infra consultant Pvt. Ltd.) in which Vinay Mishra and Vikas Mishra are directors and shareholders, the federal agency said in a statement.
”Vinay Mishra and Vikas Mishra alias Chotu delivered proceeds of crime worth Rs 731 crore with the help of business associates of Anup Maji alias Lala during July, 2018-March, 2020,” the ED said.
The money laundering case stems from a November 2020 FIR registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that alleged a multi-crore-rupee coal pilferage scam related to Eastern Coalfields Limited mines in West Bengal’s Kunustoria and Kajora areas in and around Asansol.
A chargesheet was filed by the ED in the case in May last year.
A total of three people have been arrested by the ED as part of this investigation, including Maji, Vikas Mishra, and former inspector in-charge of the Bankura police station Ashok Kumar Mishra.
Vinay Mishra was recently declared a proclaimed offender by a Delhi court for evading court proceedings in this ED case.
He is also being probed by the CBI in this alleged illegal coal mining and pilferage scam case.
Both the central agencies are also probing his role in a cross-border cattle smuggling case running along the India-Bangladesh international border in West Bengal.
The ED has claimed that the Mishra brothers received ”proceeds of crime worth Rs 730 crore on behalf of some influential persons and for themselves” in the coal case involving an estimated amount of Rs 1,352 crore.
It had earlier attached seven land parcels and two flats located in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh and Kolkata in West Bengal owned by Vinay Mishra and Vikas Mishra, having book value of Rs 48.57 lakh last year.
The CBI has also declared two separate rewards of Rs one lakh each for anyone giving actionable information leading to Vinay Mishra’s arrest in either of the two cases.
In a recent public advertisement, the CBI said Vinay Mishra ”acted as a middleman link to collect illegal gratification on behalf of public servants and used to give patronage and protection to the smugglers using his connections in lieu of money routed through non-existent shell companies.” The CBI has moved Interpol seeking a Red Notice (global arrest warrant) against Mishra and attempts are going on to bring him back from the island country of Vanuatu in the Pacific ocean where he had reportedly taken citizenship in 2020, officials had said.