Kolkata, June 14 () Calcutta High Court’s single judge bench of Justice Rajasekhar Mantha on Wednesday ordered CBI probe in the murder of coal trader and BJP leader Raju Jha on April 1 at Saktigarh in East Burdwan district.
Justice Mantha also directed the CBI to complete its investigation within the next four months.
Justice Mantha has also directed the West Bengal Police to immediately handover all case related documents, including the case diary to the central agency sleuths.
To recall, Jha was supposed to be present at the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office in New Delhi on April 3 this year for the purpose of interrogation in relation to the multi-crore coal smuggling scam in West Bengal case.
On April 1, while he was coming to Kolkata from his ancestral residence at Durgapur in West Burdwan, he stopped at a sweetmeat hub at Saktigarh for some refreshments. There he was shot dead from point-blank range by some unknown miscreants. His associate Bratin Mukhopadhyay, who was travelling with him, also suffered injuries.
Later it was learnt that the car by which Jha was travelling that day was owned by Abdul Latif, an accused in the multi-crore cattle smuggling case in West Bengal. A special investigation team of police started a probe in the matter and even arrested three persons.
It was learnt that Jha had criminal antecedents. As per police records towards the closing years of the previous Left Front regime in West Bengal before 2011, Jha’s name came in the police reports following his involvement in a bicycle-theft racket in the coal belt of Raniganj area in the then Burdwan district and now West Burdwan district in West Bengal.
As per police records, the deceased coal trader entered the illegal smuggled coal transport racket long back. As he started earning handsome amounts from that illegal business, he slowly started diversifying his business areas to Volvo bus service and hotel businesses. All these developments happened between 2004 and 2011 that is during the last few years of the previous Left Front regime.
In July 2011, a couple of months after the Trinamool Congress regime started in West Bengal, police arrested Jha at Raniganj. Even after that he was arrested by police a number of times. However, those arrests could not be any hurdle for his business growth in various spheres.
Before the 2021 West Bengal Assembly elections Jha joined the BJP and was seen in several campaign programmes for the party for the elections. However, his political activities reduced to a great extent after he was denied a ticket by the saffron camp for that election.