The Calcutta High Court on Thursday allowed Trinamool Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee and his wife Rujira to travel to Dubai for the former’s ophthalmological treatment.
Banerjee had approached the court alleging that the Enforcement Directorate had denied him permission to go abroad for treatment. The agency had in March questioned Abhishek Banerjee in connection with the coal smuggling scam in West Bengal.
The 34-year-old Trinamool Congress (TMC) national general secretary represents Diamond Harbour constituency in the Lok Sabha.
In his appeal before the High Court, the MP had stated that he had requested the central agency to spare him from questioning for some time as he would have to go abroad for treatment. As per reports, Banerjee wanted to be excused from June 3 to 10.
However, the ED officials reportedly raised objections to the proposal. The agency reportedly told the court that Banerjee might try to meet Vinay Mishra who is believed to be in Dubai. Vinay Mishra is the TMC’s former youth wing leader who is stated to have left the country sometime back and renounced his Indian citizenship.
Vinay’s brother Vikas Mishra and former inspector in-charge of Bankura police station Ashok Kumar Mishra have been arrested in the case so far.
Allowing Banerjee to travel to Dubai, Judge Bibek Choudhury said the TMC leader is not an accused in the FIR and has been cooperating with the ED.
The ED has lodged the case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act based on a November 2020 FIR registered by the CBI that alleged a multi-crore coal pilferage scam related to Eastern Coalfields Limited mines in the state’s Kunustoria and Kajora areas in and around Asansol.
The ED has claimed that the parliamentarian was a beneficiary of funds obtained from this illegal trade.
The Trinamool Congress leader had recently made headlines for his criticism of the judiciary. “I feel bad to say that a couple of members of the judiciary are acting at the behest of others and as agents. They are ordering for CBI verdicts in petty cases. They are putting a stay in murder cases. This is unthinkable,” Banerjee had said at a public rally in Haldia on May 28.