The CBI today interrogated Rujira Banerjee Narula, wife of Trinamul Congress MP and chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew, Abhishek Banerjee, for over an hour in connection with the coal smuggling scam.
An eight-member team led by an officer in the rank of superintendent of police, today interrogated Rujira at her residence at Harish Chatterjee Street in connection with the alleged beneficiaries of the money trail in the coal mining scam that the agency suspected was stashed in many overseas accounts.
Sources in the CBI said the interrogation which lasted for one and half hours, mainly revolved around her accounts in Thailand. Rujira was found to be not “forthcoming” in her reply and skirted many queries on the pretext of “beyond her knowledge”, sources said.
It was learnt that the CBI was in constant touch with the higher officials at Kolkata’s Nizam Palace and briefed the entire interrogation details to the office over the telephone from Abhishek’s Banerjee’s residence.
The CBI was learnt to have been armed with an eight-page questionnaire and quizzed Rujira regarding her several passports and on whether she holds any post in any company based in Thailand and the alleged dubious transactions that had taken place in her account based in that country.
The alleged channelisation of a large chunk of money into her Bangkok account was learnt to have raised eyebrows of the CBI sleuths, who following the interrogation of suspects in the coal and cattle smuggling scams have come across certain leads of an existence of a businessman based in UAE, who had helped the alleged masterminds in coal mining scam to stash their ill-gotten money through a web of overseas accounts in foreign countries.
The statement given by Rujira Banerjee was recorded and would now be tallied with that of Menoka Gambhir, her sister, who was quizzed yesterday. Following in-depth analysis and evaluation of the statement recorded, the next course of action would be decided.
Earlier today a high drama preceded the CBI team’s examination of Rujira as chief minister Mamata Banerjee went to her nephew Abhishek Banerjee’s ‘Shantiniketan’ residence and spent about nine minutes there before leaving for Nabanna. The CBI team came just three minutes after the chief minister had left the premises.
BJP spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya called Miss Banerjee’s presence at the residence of her nephew Abhishek Banerjee ‘unwarranted’ and said that being a chief of state she should not indulge in such acts.
“I want to ask Miss Banerjee two questions regarding her visit to her nephew’s home before the CBI team. Was she driven by family sentiment or intended to create mental pressure on the CBI investigative team,” he said.