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October 1, 2023

CBI to probe alleged extortion of money from truck drivers at Haldia Port

By Priti Naik

The Calcutta High Court on Monday issued an order for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe into the alleged extortion of money from truck drivers at the Haldia Port. The Haldia Port is observed as one which has the most business in West Bengal and also has mafia connection which has a strong hold on the port.

The court, while hearing the plea of a co-accused to hand over the case to the CBI, stayed the investigation of the state police. While ordering the release of petitioner Rajiv Paul, he made a condition that he would not go out of Haldia. Justice Rajasekhar Mantha said, “The CBI will take the entire material of the case including the case diary and all the evidence from the Haldia police and start the investigation.” The court listed the matter for further hearing after six weeks.

Justice Mantha said that as mentioned in the FIR, this incident is of 2018, but the FIR was registered in July 2021 at Haldia police station. He said that this delay has raised serious questions about the purpose of the investigation. The court said, “Most businesses in the state are controlled by the mafia, whether it is trading in construction materials or the recent case of movement of goods in and out of Haldia port.” On July 12, 2021 at Haldia police station. A case of extortion was registered.

Recently, Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal on Wednesday flagged off the first voyage of a steel consignment from Haldia to Pandu (Assam) on the India-Bangladesh route. The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways said in a statement, “Sonowal marked the maiden voyage of the yachts carrying a consignment of 1,798 tonnes of finished steel products of Tata Steel Limited from Haldia to Pandu via the India-Bangladesh Protocol Route (IBP route). Flagged off.” The maiden voyage between the two countries demonstrates various models of cargo movement along with harnessing the power of river-sea connectivity.

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