Coal theft case: Abhishek's wife asks CBI team to visit home; sleuths examine her sister

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(Eds: Collating related stories) Kolkata, Feb 22 (PTI) A day after the CBI served a notice to Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee's wife, Rujira Banerjee, asking her to join the probe in the alleged coal pilferage scam, she asked the central agency to send its team to her residence for examination on Tuesday, officials said.

CBI sleuths also visited the residence of the TMC leaders sister-in-law Menaka Gambhir in Kolkata on Monday to examine her in connection with the same case, they said.

Abhishek, the president of the TMC's youth wing, is the nephew of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

A team of CBI officials had visited the residence of Abhishek Banerjee on Sunday to deliver the summons but Rujira was not present. The agency asked her to join the probe.

She responded to the summons on Monday and asked the CBI to visit her residence between 11 am and 3 pm on Tuesday.

'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,' Rujira said in a letter to CBI.

'You are requested to kindly inform me your schedule,' she said.

Two woman officers of the CBI also visited the residence of Gambhir, Rujiras sister, and examined her for nearly three hours after a notice was served to her on Sunday, officials of the agency said.

The officers of the CBI's anti-corruption branch sought to ascertain her financial accounts, they said.

The developments took place ahead of the assembly election in West Bengal, which is likely to be held in April- May.

After the summonses were issued on Sunday, the TMC hit out the BJP-led central government alleging political vendetta, while the saffron party said that the TMC was trying to politicise the matter.

The CBI on November 28 last year carried out a massive search operation in a number of locations in four states -- West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh -- after registering a case against one Anup Majee alias Lala.

It is alleged that Lala, the 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.

Premises of two general managers of ECL, three officers, unknown officials of ECL, CISF and Indian Railways were raided along with that of Majee on that day. PTI DC/PNT NN NN