CBI notice to TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee's wife in coal pilferage case

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New Delhi/Kolkata, Feb 21 (PTI) The CBI on Sunday served a notice to the wife of TMC leader and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's nephew Abhishek Banerjee at his Kolkata residence asking her to join the probe in the coal pilferage case, a development that could further raise the political temperature in poll-bound West Bengal.

The team is likely to question Abhishek Banerjee's wife Rujira Banerjee in connection with the case at her residence, sources said.

The central probe agency had on Friday carried out a fresh round of searches in connection with the case, they said.

The CBI had registered an FIR in November last year against the alleged kingpin of the pilferage racket Manjhi alias Lala, Eastern Coalfield Ltd General Managers Amit Kumar Dhar (of then Kunustoria area now Pandaveswar area) and Jayesh Chandra Rai (Kajor area) besides ECL Chief of Security Tanmay Das, Area Security Inspector, Kunustoria Dhananjay Rai and SSI and security in-charge Kajor area Debashish Mukherjee.

It is alleged that accused Manjhi Lala is involved in the illegal mining and theft of coal from leasehold mines of ECL in Kunustoria and Kajora areas, they said.

The assembly elections are due in April-May in West Bengal, where the BJP has launched a vigorous campaign to oust the ruling TMC that had secured consecutive wins in 2011 and 2016 under its leader Mamata Banerjee.

Abhishek Banerjee, who is a Lok Sabha member, wields considerable influence in the party and has been leading the Trinamool Congress' counter-attack.

Won't be cowed down by CBI notice to wife: Abhishek Banerjee

Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee on Sunday asserted that the party will not be cowed down by the CBI notice to his wife Rujira, asking her to join the probe in a coal pilferage case.

The notice had asked Rujira to be present at their Harish Mukherjee Road residence at 3 pm to reply to queries related to the case.

'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,' Abhishek, the nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, said in a tweet.

'We have full faith in the law of the land,' he added.

CBI is only ally of BJP left: TMC on notice to Abhishek's wife

The Trinamool Congress hit out at the Centre on Sunday, alleging political vendetta as the CBI served a notice to party MP Abhishek Banerjee's wife, asking her to join the probe in the coal pilferage case.

In a statement, the party said that people will give a befitting reply to the BJP over this during the polls.

So predictable. So desperate. All BJP allies have left them. So the only loyal allies are CBI and ED,' it stated.

'CBI is the only ally of the BJP left,' it added.

The party said it was not scared and will fight it out.

Abhishek, a TMC MP from Diamond Harbour, is the nephew of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Trinamool Congress spokesperson and MP Sougata Roy alleged the CBI visiting Abhishek's house was nothing but political vendetta.

'The way BJP was targeting Abhishek for the last few days prove that they were up to something,' he said.

The BJP said the TMC was trying to politicise the matter.

'If someone has committed any wrong, then the law will take its course. Those who are culprits should be punished. No one should try to politicise the matter,' BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya told PTI.