The Enforcement Directorate has again served notice to Abhishek Banerjee asking him to appear before the ED officials in Delhi on September 21. This is the third notice served to Banerjee this month in the alleged coal smuggling case.
Earlier on September 6, Banerjee appeared before the ED officials and he was interrogated for nine hours. The next day again he was asked to come to the office but Banerjee replied that it was impossible for him to appear because of his pre-scheduled political programs. The central agency again served a notice asking him to appear on September 21.
The interrogation of Banerjee has sparked debate across political circles with chief minister Mamata Banerjee attacking the BJP government on the issues alleging that the Modi-Shah duo was indulging in vindictive politics. “They don’t have any proof. They are only harassing him (Abhishek Banerjee). When they can’t fight us politically, they are using the central agencies to scare us,” Mamata Banerjee said on the interrogation of Abhishek Banerjee who also happens to be her nephew.
The case, filed under criminal sections of the (PMLA), was filed by the ED after studying a November 2020 FIR of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that alleged a multi-crore coal pilferage scam related to the Eastern Coalfields Ltd mines in the state’s Kunustoria and Kajora areas in and around Asansol. Local state operative Anup Majhi alias Lala is alleged to be the prime suspect in the case.
The ED had earlier claimed that Abhishek Banerjee was a beneficiary of funds obtained from this illegal trade. He has been denying all charges.
On September 6, after being interrogated by ED for nine hours Abhishek Banerjee had said, “It is difficult to cow us down by these agencies. We are not Congress that we will sit back and watch. We will go to all the places where democracy is being killed and butchered by the BJP”.
Apart from Abhishek Banerjee, the ED summoned his wife Rujira Banerjee, his lawyer Sanjay Basu and two IPS officers – Shyam Singh and Gyanwant Singh for interrogation. Rujira Banerjee, however, told the central agency that in this pandemic situation, it would not be possible for her to go to Delhi for interrogation and asked the probe agency to come to her home to question her.