Security personnel sit outside TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee's residence, in Kolkata. (PTI)
Security personnel sit outside TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee's residence, in Kolkata. (PTI)

Coal smuggling case: CBI may question TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee’s wife today

On Monday, Rujira Banerjee responded to the CBI saying the central agency may visit her residence between 11am and 3pm on Tuesday
By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON FEB 23, 2021 11:48 AM IST

Sleuths of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) are likely to question Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Abhishek Banerjee’s wife Rujira Banerjee on Tuesday in connection with a multi-crore coal smuggling case.

The central agency has already questioned Rujira Banerjee’s sister Menaka Gambhir for nearly three hours on Monday at her residence, officials said.

The CBI had on Sunday visited the residence of Abhishek Banerjee, the nephew of chief minister Mamata Banerjee, to serve a notice to his wife for questioning. The agency had also summoned Gambhir for questioning.

On Monday, Rujira Banerjee responded to the CBI saying the central agency may visit her residence between 11am and 3pm on Tuesday.

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“Though I am unaware of the reason for being called for questioning on the subject matter of the investigation, you may visit my residence as per your convenience between 11am and 3pm tomorrow i.e 23 February 2021,” Rujira Banerjee wrote in her letter to the CBI on Monday morning.

A senior CBI official privy to the developments said that the team which questioned Gambhir was “not fully satisfied” with her answers and the possibility of questioning her again is not being ruled out.

After questioning Gambhir, the team held a long meeting on Monday at Nizam Palace in Kolkata to prepare the set of questions for Rujira Banerjee.

“At least two bank accounts, one in London and another in Bangkok, have come under the CBI scanner,” the official said, without divulging any further details.

“The statements given by Rujira Banerjee and Menaka Gambhir will be verified before further steps are taken,” said an official

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee reached the residence of her nephew Abhishek Banerjee Monday mid-morning.

Meanwhile, the CBI team, which will question Rujira Banerjee, was also on its way to Abhishek Banerjee’s residence.

The CBI sending notices to Abhishek Banerjee’s wife and his sister-in-law in a coal smuggling case ahead of the crucial assembly polls in West Bengal has triggered a bitter slugfest between the TMC and its primary opponent the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

On Sunday evening, Abhishek tweeted a photo of the notice the CBI left at his residence. “...if they think they can use these ploys to intimidate us, they are mistaken,” he wrote.

Later, Mamata Banerjee said she is not intimidated by anyone adding that “a tiger cub is not scared of fighting cats and rats”.

Earlier, Suvendu Adhikari, a former TMC minister who recently joined the BJP, had alleged that illegal transactions had been made in the Bangkok account.

On Monday he had alleged that a personal diary of Anup Majhi alias Lala, the prime accused in the multi-crore coal smuggling case, would be soon made public and more names may crop up.

The TMC hit back saying that most of the accused in the Narada and Saradha chit funds scams are now hiding in the BJP.

“If the diary of Lala is so important then the letter sent by Saradha group chairman Sudipta Sen to the police, in which he has named several BJP leaders, should also be taken into account. Secondly why didn’t Adhikari tell the party (when he was with the TMC) if he knew about this? It is a ploy of the BJP. While on one hand central agencies are being used against the TMC, the BJP leaders are trying to malign the leaders with baseless allegations,” said Kunal Ghosh, TMC spokesperson.

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