Bengal coal scam: ED goofs up timing; respondent shows up for questioning past midnight
A small typo caused a huge embarrassment to Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials in Kolkata when the sister-in-law of Trinamool Congress’ national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee, in deference to summons, showed up at the agency office for questioning at 12.30 am on Monday (September 12).
Banerjee’s sister-in-law Maneka Gambhir, who was served the summons on Saturday rushed to the ED office at CGO Complex past Monday midnight with her lawyer in tow. But the officials gave the scheduled date with her a miss.
Generally, it is the other way round. Respondents often skip summons by the investigating agency on one pretext or another. Senior TMC leader Anubrata Mondal, who was arrested by the CBI in a cattle smuggling case earlier this month, had skipped the summons issued by the investigating agency ten times, perhaps a record by itself.
Gambhir, however, diligently reached the ED office at the specified time only to find it was locked, a rare occasion when investigators skipped a respondent.
“I am here because I was asked to appear before the ED at 12.30 midnight. But there is no one around,” Gambhir told a few TV reporters, who were following the nocturnal development.
She and her lawyer reached the office 10 minutes before the scheduled time of appearance. Initially, the guards at the locked main gate stopped them from entering the complex. But after they showed the notice, they were let in.
After finding no official around, Gambhir and her lawyer left the complex after a wait of 20 minutes.
After barring Gambhir from boarding a flight on Saturday evening, ED officials had served her a notice to appear before the agency on Monday 12.30 am for questioning in the coal scam.
She was prevented from taking the flight by immigration officials as there was a “look out” notice against her. After being informed of the development, an ED team had gone to the airport and served her a notice.
But instead of Monday 12.30 pm, the timing of her scheduled appearance was erroneously mentioned in the notice as Monday 12.30 am, thus causing confusion.
It is not unusual for travelers to miss their flight or train due to confusion over ante meridiem (AM) and post meridiem (PM).
Not many expected the ED sleuths to make the same goof up.
Admitting to the faux pas, the ED later issued a fresh summon to appear before it on Monday at 2 pm, bringing the curtains down on the drama.