Trinamool MP Abhishek Banerjee has received a fresh summons from the Enforcement Directorate to appear for questioning in connection with a money laundering case linked to the alleged coal mine scam in Bengal. He has been asked to appear on September 21.
Mr Banerjee, 33, had originally been summoned to appear in Delhi on Friday but he begged off, saying that he could not travel at such short notice. He has already been questioned this month; on September 6 he was questioned for over eight hours in Delhi’s Jam Nagar House.
Ahead of that round of questioning Mr Banerjee told reporters “I am ready to face investigation…will co-operate”. However, he also pointed out “for a Kolkata-based case they have summoned me to Delhi.”
“I reiterate what I said in November… if any central agency can prove my involvement in any illegal transaction… I will walk up the podium and get myself hanged publicly,” he declared dramatically.
Last time Mr Banerjee was questioned over links to other accused and to two companies that showed evidence of illegal transactions and are allegedly linked to his family.
His wife, Rujira Banerjee, has also been summoned; she was asked to appear on September 1 but cited the Covid situation and her young children to say she could not travel.
Mrs Banerjee asked the agency to question her at her Kolkata home instead.
Rujira Banerjee has also been questioned by the CBI – on February 23, days ahead of the Bengal election. Her sister and family were also questioned.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has accused the centre of unleashing its agencies on her nephew and his family; she claimed some BJP ministers were working “hand in glove” with the coal mafia.
On Thursday, as she started her campaign for the Bhabanipur bypoll, she attacked the BJP for unleashing central agencies against its political adversaries.
Without naming BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari, she said, “The person who actually took money in the Narada case has no case against him. Why can’t he be questioned by police? Is he the son of God? If he can decide where and when police can question him, we too must have the same right.”
The Enforcement Directorate is inquiring into money laundering allegations linked to illegal mining and theft of coal from the state-run Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL) in Bengal.
The Enforcement Directorate has arrested two people in this case till now.
One is Vikas Mishra, the brother of Trinamool youth wing leader Vinay Mishra, who is stated to have left the country and renounced his citizenship. The second – former inspector in-charge of Bankura police station Ashok Kumar Mishra – was arrested early this year.