Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee, nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, on Sunday refuted reports that his wife was caught at the Kolkata airport for carrying gold in her check-in baggage.
The MP from Diamond Harbour claimed the complaint against his wife Rujira Narula, which was filed by the Customs authorities alleging interference and obstruction, was “highly politically motivated”, PTI reported.
On Friday, the airport customs had filed a complaint against the West Bengal Police for allegedly intervening when Rujira Narula was held for carrying excess gold without a declaration from Bangkok, The Indian Express reported. The incident reportedly took place on the intervening night of March 15 and 16.
Addressing reporters at a press conference on Sunday, Abhishek Banerjee claimed his wife was “not even carrying two grams of gold” or other dutiable items in her baggage. “If that was so [that his wife was travelling with gold], why wasn’t it confiscated? Was the chowkidar sleeping?” he said. “If at all the local police had obstructed the customs officials in the due discharge of their duty, why didn’t they seek help from the CISF personnel who guard the airport?”
He also asked why the officials took seven days to file the First Information Report. Abhishek Banerjee also asked why the officials were not looking into closed-circuit television footage from the airport premises. “If they can show me even a split-second footage on a single camera that she was carrying even two grams of gold, I will accept whatever they say,” Abhishek Banerjee said.
Meanwhile, Narula has filed a complaint against the customs officials under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, including for harassing her, wrongful restraint and criminal intimidation.
Abhishek Banerjee claimed that the customs officials asked her for a bribe of Rs 50,000 and that his wife was harassed for 75 minutes by officials at the airport. He also claimed only one woman police officer had come to his wife’s assistance, for about 10 minutes.
However, he admitted that police were sent to assist her. “When they started harassing her, we feared a medical emergency and that is why local police personnel was sent for her assistance,” he said.