Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew and MP Abhishek Banerjee and his wife Rujira Banerjee will be questioned next week by the Enforcement Directorate in an alleged money laundering case linked to the Bengal coal scam. Mr Banerjee linked the summons to the BJP’s recent victory in the assembly elections in four states and questioned the dismissal of his appeal in High Court challenging the questioning in Delhi.
“I will go to the Supreme Court. That path is open to me. And we have faith in the topmost justice system in the country,” he said.
Mr Banerjee said he was going to Delhi, even though he has been advised bed rest by his doctor after a recent eye procedure.
Speaking to reporters in Kolkata before his departure this afternoon, Mr Banerjee said he had appealed in the Delhi High Court, saying he should be questioned in Kolkata instead of Delhi since the case is connected to Bengal.
“There is an ED (Enforcement Directorate) office in Kolkata. You can call me as many times as you like. I will come there as I have nothing to hide,” he said.
The court, after a long hearing, had initially reserved judgment. Then, the BJP won in four states on March 10, and on the March 11, his petition was dismissed, he said.
“I have faith in the judiciary but this cannot be a co-incidence,” he added.
“The people of Bengal have defeated them and kicked out the outsiders from Bengal… they are irritated because we haven’t surrendered… we will not surrender… this fight will have to go on…we will see it to the end,” added Mr Banerjee, who is a senior leader in Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress.
The case involves alleged illegal mining and theft of coal from Kunustoria and Kajoria coal fields of Eastern Coalfield Limited. There were allegations that the coal mafia paid regular kickbacks to leaders of Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress. The pilferage results in loss of revenue for the Centre and the states in thousands of crores.
Mr Banerjee appeared for a round of questioning in Delhi in September last year.
Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has accused the Centre of unleashing its agencies on her nephew and his family. She has also claimed that some BJP ministers are “hand in glove” with the coal mafia.