KOLKATA: A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team will on Tuesday grill Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee’s wife Rujira Naroola in connection with its ongoing probe into the coal scam case. Rujira had on Monday responded to the CBI’s summons in the alleged coal pilferage scam and urged the central agency to send its team to her residence for questioning on Tuesday.
The CBI had on Sunday asked her to join the probe. A team of CBI officials had visited the residence of Abhishek Banerjee, who is the nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, on Sunday to deliver the summons but Rujira was not present.
She, however, responded to the summons on Monday and asked the CBI to visit her residence between 11 am and 3 pm on Tuesday. “Though I am unaware of the reason for me being called for questioning or the subject matter of the investigation, you may visit my residence as per your convenience between 11 am and 3 pm (Tuesday), i.e. February 23, 2021,” she said in her letter to CBI.
“You are requested to kindly inform me of your schedule,” she said.
A team of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) recorded the statement of Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee`s sister-in-law Menka Gambhir in connection with its probe into the illegal coal smuggling case. According to CBI officials, an eight-member team of the CBI led by Investigation officer Umesh Kumar along with two women officers arrived at the residence of Gambhir and recorded her statement for over two-and-a-half hours.
CBI sources said that the agency questioned her about few banking transactions. The development comes a day after CBI summoned Gambhir on Sunday to record her statement in the case, which the agency registered in November last year.
Reacting to the development, Trinamool Congress spokesperson Kunal Ghosh had said that there is nothing new in it as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was trying everything to unseat the Trinamool Congress-led government in West Bengal.
“They are using central agencies to malign the image of Abhishek Banerjee ahead of the state Assembly elections. The CBI notice is just a step towards that,” he said.
The CBI had registered a case of illegal theft of coal last year in November. The agency had registered a case against coal mafia Anup Majhi alias Lala, his deputy J. Mondal, and other unidentified people, including some employees of the Eastern Coalfields Ltd. and of other Central government offices. It was alleged that Majhi was involved in coal theft from the leasehold mines of the ECL in Kunustoria and Kajora areas.
On November 28 last year, the CBI had conducted raids at 45 locations in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh in connection with the coal smuggling racket. Again on February 19, the CBI team carried out searches at 13 locations in four districts of West Bengal, including the premises of coal mafia Jaidev Mondal.
Abhishek, the nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been at loggerheads with the Centre with the BJP accusing him of conducting scams and misappropriation of funds.
The CBI action comes ahead of the high octane Assembly polls scheduled later this year where the ruling Trinamool Congress and the BJP are in a bitter contest. Elections for 294 Assembly seats in West Bengal are likely to take place in April-May this year.