ED quizzes Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee's wife Rujira in coal pilferage scam

By PTI

KOLKATA: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday interrogated Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee’s wife Rujira Narula Banerjee at its Kolkata office for over six hours in connection with its probe into the coal pilferage scam, an officer said.

The officer said that Rujira went to the ED office at the CGO complex at around 11 am carrying her two-and-a-half-year-old son in her arms. Four officers, including two women, questioned her.

“We have questioned her about a few transactions made in a bank account in Bangkok. Her answers are being tallied with those given by people who were interrogated earlier in the same case. Rujira may be called again in a few days for another round of questioning,” he said when contacted.

During the entire grilling session, Banerjee’s son remained on her lap, the officer said. “The child was crying every time her mother was putting him down from her lap,” he added. The Supreme Court has allowed ED to quiz Banerjee and his wife in the coal smuggling case in Kolkata by giving them an advance 24 hour notice.

The ED had expressed apprehensions at the apex court citing past instances of violence against CBI officers, who were gheraoed in the city after three heavyweight TMC leaders were summoned by them in connection with another scam at its office.

It had mailed to the state police seeking protection. Following it a huge police arrangement was made at the ED office here, a senior official of the force said. The investigation is linked to an FIR filed by CBI in 2020 in a multi-crore rupees pilferage scam.

The CBI has so far questioned Rujira twice in connection with the scam. The central agency had last year also interrogated Rujira’s sister Menoka Gambhir, her husband and father-in-law in connection with the probe.

It is alleged that illegal mining of coal was carried out at leasehold mines of Eastern Coalfields’ in Kunustoria and Kajora areas near Asansol in West Bengal. Investigations have hinted towards financial transactions of Rs 1,300 crore, the bulk of which went to several influential people as per CBI.

The probe revealed that the money was deposited in foreign bank accounts of these influential people through hawala.