Income Tax officials on Friday afternoon left the rice mill of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Tanmoy Ghosh at Bengal’s Bankura district, nearly 52 hours after they started the searches on November 8.
The income tax officers, who were accompanied by a central armed police contingent, locked the gates of Sibani Rice Mill at Bishnupur, Ghosh’s constituency, and did not allow any employee to leave or enter the premises for the next 52 hours.
The tax officials too stayed inside the premises and shipped in blankets and food, a Bankura district police officer said.
An income tax official in Kolkata said Ghosh is under the scanner over suspicion that he may have been a beneficiary of the alleged irregularities in the public distribution system that are under investigation. Bengal minister Jyotipriya Mallick and Bakibur Rahaman, a rice mill owner and hotelier, have been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in this connection.
“Other businesses of Ghosh, which includes a liquor dealership, are also being investigated,” the official said.
Tanmoy Ghosh switched over from the Trinamool Congress to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the 2021 West Bengal assembly elections, won the election from the Bishnupur seat in Bankura district on a BJP ticket and joined the TMC months after the state elections. He, however, has not resigned from the BJP.
“Ghosh keeps his political status ambiguous. Wait and see where the income tax department goes next,” BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari, the leader of the Opposition in the legislative assembly, said.
Ghosh could not be contacted for his comments.
TMC state general secretary Kunal Ghosh said the federal agencies were working under instructions from BJP leaders to keep Bengal’s ruling party under pressure ahead of the 2024 elections. “Why don’t the agencies ever raid the homes of BJP leaders who have made millions?” he asked.
The tax raid on Ghosh’s rice mill and other businesses started a day after TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee received a summon notice from ED on November 7 when he was celebrating his birthday. ED asked Banerjee to visit its Salt Lake office outside Kolkata on November 9 for questioning in the bribe-for-job scam in the education department.
Income tax officials have also sent notice to Akhil Giri, minister for correctional homes, Giri is a rival of Adhikari in East Midnapore.
This article has been republished from The Hindustan Times