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ED questions Abhishek for 9 hrs over coal scam

He is understood to have been questioned about his links to other accused in the case and in the context of two companies allegedly linked to his family in which some purported illegal transactions were done

PTI | Kolkata |

Abhishek Banerjee, TMC Diamond Harbour MP and nephew of chief minister Mamata Banerjee was questioned for about nine hours by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) here on Monday in a money laundering case linked to an alleged coal pilferage scam in the state, officials said.

The 33-year-old MP stepped out from the office of the central agency, located in Jam Nagar house of central Delhi, just before 8 pm. He had entered the office shortly before 11 am. “I am ready to face investigation…the agency officials are doing their work and I will cooperate with them,” he said while entering. The investigating officer of the case recorded his statement under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), officials said.

He is understood to have been questioned about his links to other accused in the case and in the context of two companies allegedly linked to his family in which some purported illegal transactions were done, they said.

The ED has filed a criminal case under the PMLA after studying a November 2020 FIR of the CBI that alleged a multicrore coal pilferage scam related to Eastern Coalfields Ltd mines in the state’s Kunustoria and Kajora areas in and around Asansol.

Speaking to reporters at the Kolkata airport on Sunday, the MP had said that he would get himself hanged if any central agency can prove his involvement. Local coal operative, Anup Majhi alias Lala, is alleged to be the prime suspect in the case. The ED had claimed that Abhishek was a beneficiary of funds obtained from this illegal trade.

His wife Rujira was also summoned by the agency in this case on1 September but she did not appear citing the prevailing Covid-19 situation. Reacting to these summonses, Miss Banerjee last week accused the Centre of letting loose its agencies on her nephew and claimed some BJP ministers were working “hand in glove” with the coal mafia.

The ED has arrested two people in this case till now.