Coal smuggling case: Mamata Banerjee visits nephew Abhishek’s residence
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday visited Abhishek Banerjee, her nephew and Trinamool Congress (TMC) lawmaker, at his residence in Kolkata, ahead of the arrival of a Central Bureau Investigation (CBI) team at his house. Moments after the chief minister left, the CBI team arrived to question Abhishek’s wife in connection with an alleged coal smuggling case.
Banerjee, the two-term chief minister of the eastern state who faces re-election this year, stayed at her nephew’s residence for around 10 minutes. News agency ANI shared a video of the TMC chief arriving at the young Lok Sabha MP’s house in the city and leaving after spending some time there.
On Sunday, the CBI had served notices to Abhishek’s wife, Rujira, and sister-in-law Menaka Gambhir, in connection with the alleged case. While Gambhir was questioned by the probe agency on Monday, Rujira requested the CBI to visit her residence anytime from 11am-3pm on Tuesday. Confirming that the notice was indeed issued, Abhishek had tweeted that while they have full faith in the law of the land, they’re not the ones who could be cowed down. “If they think they can use these ploys to intimidate us, they’re mistaken. We’re not the ones who would ever be cowed down,” he had tweeted.
Heading into the assembly elections, which are likely to take place in April-May, the state’s opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has turned the spotlight on Abhishek, who is considered by many as the heir apparent to Banerjee. Responding to allegations of nepotism and dynasty politics, Abhishek last month pointed out how several senior leaders of the BJP, including West Bengal in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya, defence minister Rajnath Singh and former TMC leader Mukul Roy have sons who themselves are lawmakers in the party.
On the CBI notices, TMC has already said it would fight these legally, adding that the BJP is left with no allies except investigating agencies like the CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED).
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- The BJP lodged a complaint in the Phoolbagan police station. Senior BJP leaders of the state rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation.
- The TMC asked the EC why the polls could not be held in fewer phases.
- She alleged that the poll panel scheduled the election dates keeping in mind the BJP’s demands.
- The CBI earlier questioned Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew and Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Abhishek Banerjee’s wife Rujira Banerjee in the case.
- Besides rallies, the chief minister’s itinerary could include religious stopovers at important places of worship.
- "Modi government only makes false promises, has done nothing to bring down fuel prices," PTI quoted the Bengal chief minister as saying.
- According to CBI officials privy to the development, Rujira was questioned for around an hour.