The Enforcement Directorate on Saturday summoned Trinamool Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee and his wife for questioning in a money laundering case, PTI reported.
The case pertains to illegal mining and theft of coal from leasehold mines of Eastern Coalfield Limited in West Bengal’s Kunustoria and Kajora areas, and involves the embezzlement of thousands of crores of rupees.
The smuggled coal was reportedly sold in the black market through a racket operating in the western parts of the state. Banerjee allegedly benefitted from the scam.
In November 2020, the Central Bureau of Investigation had filed a case against the general managers of Eastern Coalfield Limited as well a person named Anup Manjhi. Based on the CBI’s case, the ED also began an investigation.
The agency has now asked Banerjee to appear before the investigating officer in the case in Delhi on September 6, according to PTI. His wife Ruchira has been summoned on September 1.
“The BJP thinks it can put pressure on us [Trinamool Congress] by using ED against us but we will emerge stronger,” Banerjee said after the summons, according to ANI.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is also Abhishek Banerjee’s aunt, said the BJP leaders used central agencies to target her party when they couldn’t compete with it in politics.
“No use pointing fingers at the Trinamool for corruption in coal,” she added, according to NDTV. “It [coal] is under the Centre. What about its ministers? What about the BJP leaders who looted the coal belt of Bengal, the Asansol region?”