Mamata Banerjee Visits Nephew Abhishek Banerjee Home Ahead Of CBI Questioning His Wife In Coal Smuggling Case
Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today made an unscheduled visit to her nephew Abhishek Banerjee’s home before the CBI questioning of his wife in a coal smuggling case.
The Chief Minister met with her nephew, a Trinamool Congress MP, and his family for a few minutes before emerging from the apartment accompanied by Abhishek Banerjee’s daughter – her grand-niece. The girl was seen going back inside.
Moments after Mamata Banerjee’s convoy left, a CBI team of around seven-eight officers arrived to question Abhishek Banerjee’s wife Rujira Banerjee. Rujira Banerjee, listed as a “witness”, wrote to the CBI yesterday that she was “unaware of the reason of questioning” but said she as ready for questioning today.
“Though I am unaware of the reason for me being called for questioning or the subject matter of the investigation, you may visit my residence as per your convenience between 11 AM and 3 PM tomorrow, i.e. 23 February, 2021,” she wrote.
Abhishek Banerjee alleges that he is being targeted by the BJP just months ahead of the state elections and shared the CBI notice to his wife. In a tweet targeted at the BJP-led centre, he said: “…if they think they can use these ploys to intimidate us, they are mistaken. We are not the ones who would ever be cowed down”.
The CBI says it is investigating allegations that leaders of the Trinamool Congress were paid kickbacks by the coal mafia. Abhishek Banerjee’s sister-in-law Menaka Gambhir was questioned for three hours at her South Kolkata apartment yesterday.
The CBI filed a case last year into alleged illegal mining and theft of coal from Kunustoria and Kajoria coal fields of Eastern Coalfield Limited.
According to sources in the central agency, there has been some transfer of money from accounts linked to the coal theft case to the bank accounts of these two persons.
The money was allegedly channeled through Vinay Mishra, the general secretary of the Trinamool’s youth wing that is headed by Abhishek Banerjee. Vinay Mishra is believed to be on the run since December 31, when the CBI raided his home.
The BJP accuses Abhishek Banerjee, the MP from Diamond Harbour, of involvement in the coal scam and has often referred to him as the “coal thief”.
The Trinamool says the BJP is misusing the CBI to pressure the Chief Minister and her family in the acrimonious run-up to the West Bengal elections due by May.