Kolkata: A team of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) recorded the statement of Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee’s sister-in-law Menka Gambhir in connection with its probe into the illegal coal smuggling case. According to CBI officials, an eight-member team of the CBI led by Investigation officer Umesh Kumar along with two women officers arrived at the residence of Gambhir and recorded her statement for over two and half hours. CBI sources said that the agency questioned her about few banking transactions.
Meanwhile, Rujira Banerjee, the wife of TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee, Monday responded to the CBI’s summons in the alleged coal pilferage scam and asked the central agency to send its team to her residence for examination on Tuesday, officials said. A team of CBI officials had visited the residence of Abhishek Banerjee, a nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, on Sunday to deliver the summons but Rujira was not present.
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,” she said in her letter to CBI. “You are requested to kindly inform me your schedule,” she said.
The CBI action comes ahead of the high octane Assembly polls scheduled later this year where the ruling Trinamool Congress and the BJP are in a bitter contest. Reacting to the development, Trinamool Congress spokesperson Kunal Ghosh had said that there is nothing new in it as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was trying everything to unseat the Trinamool Congress-led government in West Bengal. He said, “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.”
On November 28, last year, the CBI had conducted raids at 45 locations in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh in connection with the coal smuggling racket. On February 19, the CBI team carried out searches at 13 locations in four districts of West Bengal, including the premises of coal mafia Jaidev Mondal.