A CBI team reached Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee’s south Kolkata residence on Tuesday to interrogate his wife Rujira in a coal pilferage case, minutes after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee left following a brief visit to the house.
Abhishek is Mamata Banerjee’s nephew and represents Diamond Harbour constituency in the Lok Sabha. The chief minister arrived at his house around 11:23 am and left about 10 minutes later. Within minutes, a CBI team arrived at the Harish Mukherjee Road residence which has been surrounded by a security layer due to fears of any untoward incident.
Local reports suggest Abhishek was at his Kalighat home during this time. It’s not clear if he’s currently present at the Harish Mukherjee Road home where Rujira is being examined. They said CBI has emailed to the Union home ministry over his wife’s citizenship. BJP MP Arjun Singh has alleged that Rujira had taken up citizenship Thailand.
#WATCH | Kolkata: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee arrives at nephew and TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee's residence
Abhishek's wife, Rujira, is expected to answer CBI's queries today in connection with the coal scam case pic.twitter.com/srmLo7awiW
— ANI (@ANI) February 23, 2021
A legal advisory team is reportedly accompanying six CBI officers while Rujira’s lawyers too are present. The CBI’s visit comes a day after Rujira told the central agency that she will be available for examination between 11 am and 3 pm on February 23, replying to a notice that the sleuths had hand-delivered her on Sunday.
Sources said the agency has sought the examination of Rujira to ascertain the details of her bank transactions, suspecting links to the proceeds of illegal coal excavation money. Questions have been raised over her having foreign bank accounts too, but Abhishek has denied such claims saying she has no accounts outside Kolkata.
The CBI examined Rujira’s sister Menaka Gambhir on Monday in connection with the same case. Two lady officers of the CBI visited her residence off EM Bypass and examined her for nearly three hours.
The developments come months ahead of the assembly elections in the state, in which the Mamata-led Trinamool Congress and BJP are going to be the major contenders, besides the Congress-Left alliance and other smaller parties. And the TMC has alleged political vendetta behind the questioning in coal case, in view of the upcoming election.
The CBI on November 28 last year carried out a massive search operation across several locations in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh after booking a case against one Anup Majhi alias Lala. It is alleged that Lala, alleged kingpin of the scam, is involved in illegal mining and theft of coal from leasehold mines of ECL in Kunustoria and Kajora areas, sources said.
(With inputs from agencies)