Express News Service
KOLKATA: A team of five CBI officers visited West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee’s south Kolkata residence and served a notice to his wife asking her to join the ongoing probe in the coal pilferage case. Later in the evening, the central agency also served a similar notice to Abhishek’s sister-in-law.
The CBI action became visible 48 hours after a Salt Lake court issued a summon to Union Home minister Amit Shah asking him to appear physically on Monday in connection with a defamation case filed by Abhishek.
Sources in the central agency said the decision of serving the notice to Abhishek’s wife Rujira Banerjee and her sister Menoka Gambhir was taken after suspicious transactions in their bank accounts emerged during the coal pilferage probe. The CBI sleuths wanted to record statement of Rujira but they returned as she was not at home. The investigating officer left his contact number asking Rujira to contact him immediately.
Referring the CBI’s action as a ploy, Abhishek twitted, ‘’At 2pm today, the CBI served a notice in the name of my wife. We have full faith in the law of the land. However, if they think they can use these ploys to intimidate us, they are mistaken. We are not the ones who would ever be cowed down.’’
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The CBI had registered an FIR in November, 2020, against Anup Kumar Majhi alias Lala, two general managers of Eastern Coalfield Ltd and security officials of ECL. It is alleged that Manjhi is involved in illegal mining and theft of coal from leasehold mines of ECL.
Since the FIR was lodged, the BJP, without naming Abhishek, have been alleging involvement of several Trinamool Congress leaders and the ‘’nephew’’, who, they claimed, were instrumental in siphoning the money earned from the sales of smuggled coal into the fund of the ruling party. In all the campaigns, BJP’s national leadership never missed opportunities to hit out at the Bengal CM on her nephew issue.
The CBI sent the notices under the section 160 of CrPC considering both Rujira and Menoka as witnesses in the case. ‘’If during the course of interrogation, discrepancies in the statements of witnesses are found, they can be booked as an accused,’’ said a CBI officer.
CPI(M) leader questioned the timing of the CBI’s action. ‘’This could have been done two years ago? Why before the polls now? It appears, now Delhi wants, so they (the CBI) are serving the notices,’’ he said.
Congress state president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, which has alliance with the CPI(M) in the upcoming Assembly elections, ‘’Truth should come out. Whoever is being summoned should cooperate with the CBI.’’