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Coal scam: Mamata’s kin expresses inability to appear before ED citing Covid situation

PTI Kolkata | Updated on September 01, 2021

The case is related to an alleged multi-crore coal pilferage scam related to Eastern Coalfields' mines.

Senior TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee's wife Rujira on Wednesday expressed her inability to appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in New Delhi in connection with the coal pilferage scam citing the prevailing COVID situation and requested the agency sleuths to visit her Kolkata residence instead.

The ED had summoned Abhishek Banerjee, the TMC general secretary and Diamond Harbour MP, and his wife for questioning in a money laundering case linked to an alleged coal scam in West Bengal.

Rujira Banerjee was asked to appear before the ED on September 1, and the TMC leader, the nephew of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, on September 6.

"This refers to summons dated August 18, 2021, asking me to appear in person in New Delhi on September 1. I am a mother of two infants, and travelling to New Delhi physically alone amid the pandemic will put me and my children at grave risk.

"It would be convenient to me if you consider asking me to appear in Kolkata at my residence since your organisation has its office in Kolkata and I reside in Kolkata too," she said in her letter addressed to Sumat Prakash Jain, Assistant Director of ED.

"Besides, as per my understanding, the alleged cause of action of the subject matter of your inquiry too arises out of West Bengal. You may communicate your decision. I assure you every cooperation from my side," she said.

A CBI team had questioned Rujira Banerjee at her residence in February with the coal pilferage case.

Mamata Banerjee had last week accused the BJP-led central government of letting loose its agencies on her nephew Abhishek in the coal scam case to avenge the "humiliating defeat of the BJP in the Bengal assembly polls".

BJP refutes allegation

Dubbing the allegation as baseless, the BJP had said it has nothing to do with the ED probe but the people of the state want the investigation to be over within a time frame and unravelling of the truth.

The case, registered under criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, was filed by the ED after studying a November 2020 FIR of the CBI that alleged a multi-crore coal pilferage scam related to Eastern Coalfields' mines at Kunustoria and Kajora areas in and around Asansol.

Local coal operative Anup Majhi alias Lala is alleged to be the prime suspect in the case.

The ED has made at least two arrests in the money laundering case. One of them is Vikas Mishra, the brother of TMC youth wing leader Vinay Mishra. Vinay Mishra is stated to have left the country sometime back and probably has also renounced his Indian citizenship.

The second person arrested by the ED early this year is the former inspector in charge of Bankura police station Ashok Kumar Mishra. PTI PNT ACD NN NN

Published on September 01, 2021

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