CBI team reaches Abhishek Banerjee's house, summons wife in coal theft case

BJP had earlier accused that Abhishek also received kickbacks through party's youth leader Vinay Mishra who was appointed by Abhishek.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh
UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2021 06:50 PM IST
In the run-up to the elections, Abhishek Banerjee's name has been dragged into an alleged coal theft case. (PTI)

A CBI team on Sunday reached Trinamool leader Abhishek Banerjee's house in Kolkata in connection with an ongoing investigation into an alleged coal smuggling case. Abhishek's wife Rujira Narula has been asked to join the probe.

CBI has also summoned Abhishek Banerjee’s sister-in-law Maneka Gambhir for questioning in the same case. Gambhir has agreed to join the investigation tomorrow while Rujira is yet to respond to the CBI summons.

Though the probe has been going on since November, the CBI move comes close on the heels of Abhishek lodging a defamation case against Union home minister Amit Shah. A designated MP/MLA court in West Bengal issued summons to Shah on Friday to appear either personally or through a lawyer before it on February 22. The defamation case pertains to Amit Shah's statements against Abhishek Banerjee at a rally in Kolkata on August 11, 2018.

In the coal theft case, CBI on Friday conducted searches at 13 locations in four districts — Purulia, Bankura, Paschim Bardhaman and Kolkata.

In December, the CBI raided the residences of Vinay Mishra, a TMC leader, businessmen Amit Singh and Niraj Singh. It has been alleged that illegally mined coal, worth several thousand crores of rupees, have been sold in the black market over several years by a racket operating in the western parts of West Bengal where the Eastern Coalfields Limited operates several mines.

BJP has also alleged that the kickbacks reached Abhishek through Vinay Mishra, who was appointed by Abhishek.

In November, the agency had registered an FIR against Anup Manjhi alias Lala, one of the suspected kingpins of the racket, Eastern Coalfield Ltd General Managers Amit Kumar Dhar (of then Kunustoria area now Pandaveswar area) and Jayesh Chandra Rai (Kajor area) besides ECL Chief of Security Tanmay Das, area security inspector, Kunustoria Dhananjay Rai and SSI and security in-charge Kajor area Debashish Mukherjee.

This is not the first time Abhishek's wife got embroiled in a controversy. In 2019, Rujira had been held at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport for carrying gold without a declaration.

(With Agency Inputs)

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