The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Enforcement Directorate to withdraw lookout notices issued against Trinamool Congress General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee and his wife Ruchira Banerjee in connection with the money-laundering case related to the alleged coal scam, reported PTI.
A lookout notice is issued to ensure that an individual who is absconding or wanted by law enforcement agencies is not able to leave the country.
Both Abhishek Banerjee and his wife have been named as accused persons in a case of alleged illegal mining and theft of coal from the mines of Eastern Coalfields Limited in West Bengal’s Kunustoria and Kajora areas.
In the last hearing, the court had pulled up the central agency for issuing the lookout notice against the couple. On June 5, Rujira was allegedly stopped from boarding a flight to the United Arab Emirates due to the notice.
The court was hearing a batch of petitions on summons issued by the central agency to various political leaders directing them to come for interrogation to Delhi, reported Bar and Bench.
During Friday’s hearing, Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing for the Enforcement Directorate, told the court the agency has relaxed the lookout notice against the couple and allowed them to travel abroad several times.
However, a bench of Justices SK Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia directed the central agency to recall the lookout notice
“They will seek permission whenever they have to go,” the court said. “They will intimate you in advance.”
Raju agreed to the conditions and told the court the lookout notice has been withdrawn.
In November 2020, the Central Bureau of Investigation had filed a case against the general managers of Eastern Coalfield Limited as well as a coal mine operator named Anup Manjhi. Based on the Central Bureau of Investigation’s case, the Enforcement Directorate also started an inquiry.
The Bharatiya Janata Party had alleged that Abhishek Banerjee had received cut money from Trinamool Congress leader Vinay Mishra, who was allegedly involved in the illegal mining. The BJP also claimed that Abhishek Banerjee channeled these funds into the Trinamool Congress.
In February 2022, the Central Bureau of Investigation had served a notice to Rujira Banerjee asking her to join inquiry in the case.