Cattle scam: CBI traces 50 ‘benami’ accounts in co-op bank used to route scam proceeds
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probing the multi-crore cattle smuggling scam in West Bengal on Thursday traced as many as 50 ‘benami’ bank accounts held with a cooperative bank in the state.
Kolkata: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probing the multi-crore cattle smuggling scam in West Bengal on Thursday traced as many as 50 ‘benami’ bank accounts held with a cooperative bank in the state.
Initial estimates have revealed that around Rs 10 crore was routed through these 50 bank accounts held at the Birbhum District Central Co-Operative Bank in Suri, which is the district headquarters.
A CBI team led by the investigating officer in the case, Sushanta Bhattacharya, raided the office of the said bank on Thursday and procured the details of the bogus bank accounts.
A source said that the accounts were opened in the names of different marginalised farmers from the same district, but only one particular signature was used in all the application forms for these accounts, as well as in all the transaction slips. However, the investigating officers did reveal details of the signature or its holder.
During the course of the raid, Bhattacharya was even heard asking the manager of the bank what prompted him to assist the process of conversion of unaccounted money into one account.
The source said that transaction details of these 50 accounts revealed that some cheques from the state food and supplies department were also encashed through these accounts.
The CBI doubts that some local rice mills had connections with the cattle-smuggling operators, who purchased paddy at cheaper rates from the local farmers, after converting that paddy into rice in the mills, sold them to the state food and supplies department.
This is the first time that any cooperative bank has come under the CBI’s radder in connection with the cattle smuggling case.
Earlier, the CBI had frozen several bank accounts held by Trinamool Congress’ Birbhum district president Anubrata Mondal, his daughter Sukanya Mondal as well as some of their close associates and family members. But those all those accounts were held in public or private sector banks.