Rujira Banerjee, the wife of Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee, on Monday responded to the Central Bureau of Investigation notice issued in connection with an alleged coal scam case, reported PTI. She asked the central agency to send its team to her residence for investigation on Tuesday.
“Though I am unaware of the reason for me being called for questioning or the subject matter of the investigation, you may visit my residence as per your convenience between 11 am and 3 pm tomorrow, i.e. 23 February, 2021,” she said in her letter to the CBI. “You are requested to kindly inform me your schedule.”
The central agency had served a notice to Rujira Banerjee on Sunday to join the inquiry. Later in the day, the CBI also served a notice to Maneka Gambhir, the sister of Rujira Banerjee, reported The Hindu. Gambhir agreed to join the investigation on Monday.
A team of CBI visited Menaka Gambhir’s residence in Kolkata on Monday to examine her, reported PTI. The questioning went on for three hours after which the officials left her residence.
On Sunday, the CBI had visited the residence of Abhishek Banerjee, who is the nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, to issue summons in the alleged coal smuggling case. This came after the central agency conducted raids at 13 locations in four districts of West Bengal on February 19.
The case pertains to illegal mining and theft of coal from leasehold mines of Eastern Coalfield Limited in Kunustoria and Kajora areas, and involves embezzlement of thousands of crores of rupees. It has been alleged that this smuggled coal was sold in the black market over a number of years by a racket operating in the western parts of the state.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has alleged that the kickbacks reached the Trinamool Congress MP through party leader Vinay Mishra. The party’s leaders have also claimed that Abhishek Banerjee channelled these funds into the Trinamool Congress.
In November last year, the central agency had filed a first information report against a person identified as Anup Manjhi, and Eastern Coalfield Limited General Managers Amit Kumar Dhar and Jayesh Chandra Rai. Others named in the FIR included its Chief of Security Tanmay Das, Area Security Inspector Kunustoria Dhananjay Rai and Security In-Charge Debashish Mukherjee.
The CBI team’s visit to Kolkata came two days after a MP/MLA court in West Bengal issued summons to Union Home Minister Amit Shah in connection with a defamation case filed against him by Abhishek Banerjee. The court has asked Shah to appear before it either personally or through a lawyer at 10 am on February 22.
After the summons, the Trinamool Congress had said that people will give a befitting response to the saffron party during the upcoming Assembly polls. West Bengal will hold elections in April-May. “CBI is the only ally of the BJP,” the TMC said, adding that the party will fight it out.