CBI notice to Abhishek Banerjee’s wife in illegal coal mining scam (Ld)

Kolkata, Feb 21 (IANS) The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials served a notice to West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha MP and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee’s wife Rujira Banerjee on Sunday in connection with the illegal coal mining case.

A five-member team of CBI’s anti-corruption branch went to Abhishek Banerjee’s residence at south Kolkata’s Harish Mukherjee Road and served the notice. The Trinamool second-in-command’s wife was summoned for interrogation by the federal investigation agency sleuths. Sources said that Rujira was not present at the building named Santiniketan when the CBI team arrived there around 2 p.m.

A huge contingent of police was deployed around the house which remains heavily guarded round the year.

“At 2 p.m. 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,” Abhishek Banerjee tweeted.

Trinamool Congress spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said that there is nothing new in it as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would trying everything to unseat the Trinamool Congress-led government in West Bengal.

“They are using central agencies to malign the image of Abhishek Banerjee ahead of the state Assembly elections. The CBI notice is just a step towards that,” Ghosh said.

Earlier on November 28 last year, the CBI’s anti-corruption branch had conducted marathon raids in as many as 45 different locations in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh in connection with a coal-smuggling racket. The agency had also raided the offices and homes of kingpin Anup Majhi alias Lala, in Asansol, Durgapur, and Raniganj in Burdwan district, as well as at Bishnupur in Kolkata’s adjoining South 24-Parganas district.

That time they had also carried out search operations in some of the houses of Majhi’s associates. Majhi is the alleged kingpin of the illegal coal operation that was running in the open cast colliery belts along the Bengal-Jharkhand border.

On February 2, the investigating team of CBI also went to Andal area and visited some open-cast mines at Kajora. They had conducted a detail probe into the illegal mining syndicate, carrying out raids in Asansol-Durgapur belt to collate more information about the illegal network.

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