Abhishek Banerjee’s wife Rujira Banerjee, responding to CBI summons in connection with the alleged coal scam, agreed to meet the officers at her 188A Harish Mukherjee Road residence in Kolkata on Tuesday.
In a letter to the CBI, Rujira said, “I am in receipt of your above mentioned notice dated February 21 2021, which was delivered yesterday (February 21) at around 2 PM, when I was unavailable. 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 on February 23, 2021. You are requested to kindly inform me of your schedule.”
On February 21, a team of CBI sleuths reached Abhishek Banerjee's house around 2pm but could not find his wife. They delivered the summon letter to one of the officials present at the house. Later, the CBI officers went to Rujira’s sister’s house and handed over another summon letter in the same case.
Reacting to CBI’s summon, Abhishek Banerjee later tweeted, “At 2pm today, the CBI served a notice in the name of my wife. We have full faith in the law of the land. However, 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.”
The coal scam probe has been going on since November 2020 but the fresh summon to Abhishek Banerjee's wife came after CBI conducted searches at 13 locations in four districts including Purulia, Bankura, Paschim Bardhaman and Kolkata in West Bengal on February 19.
The CBI had registered an FIR against Manjhi alias Lala (the alleged kingpin of the racket), the General Managers of the Eastern Coalfield Ltd Amit Kumar Dhar and Jayesh Chandra Rai (ECL employee at Kajora area in West Burdwan), Area Security Inspector, Kunustoria (West Burdwan) Dhananjay Rai, security in-charge of ECL in Kajora, Debashish Mukherjee and ECL Chief of Security Tanmay Das.
BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari had said, “I don’t know what CBI is probing but everybody knows how much money went to ‘extortionist Bhaipo’s’ (Abhishek Banerjee) house through Lala. Everybody knows who ‘Madam Narula’ is and who parked money in Thailand banks. There was a misuse of power and we want action.”
There are allegations that Manjhi Lala is involved in the illegal mining and theft of coal, worth several crores of rupees, from leasehold mines of ECL in Kunustoria and Kajora located in West Burdwan.
On Sunday, Mamata Banerjee had already responded to the CBI summons and challenged the BJP to be prepared for a befitting reply in the upcoming polls. “If they think that they will scare us through agencies then they are mistaken. We are not scared of rats.”