The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Sunday summoned the wife and sister-in-law of TMC leader and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's nephew Abhishek Banerjee asking them to join the probe in the coal pilferage case. A team of the CBI served notice at Banerjee's Kolkata residence on Sunday.
According to informed sources, the probe agency wanted to interrogate Banerjee's wife today itself, however, she didn't join the probe. Later on Sunday, the CBI issued summons to Banerjee's sister-in-law Menaka Gambhir. She has been asked to appear before the investigating agency on Monday.
The CBI is probing a multi-crore coal scam in Bengal wherein the agency is investigating two kingpins -- Anup Majhi alias Lala, and Binay Mishra. Both are absconding and have been named by the agency as proclaimed offenders. The investigating agency has issued a look-out notice against both of them.
At a public rally, BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari had claimed that Lala used to transfer money to Abhishek's wife Rujira Narula Banerjee's bank account. He alleged that Lala transferred Rs 1.5 lakh Thai currency daily to Rujira's bank account in Bangkok. Meanwhile, the CBI is probing if Rujira had any business relations with Lala.
Reacting to the CBI notice, Abhishek Banerjee said he has full faith in the law of the land, and would not be "cowed down" by the "ploys".
"At 2 pm 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," Banerjee said in his statement.
In a sharp attack, the Trinamool Congress hit out at the Centre, alleging political vendetta as the CBI served a notice to Banerjee's wife. In a statement, the party said that people will give a befitting reply to the BJP over this during the polls.
"So predictable. So desperate. All BJP allies have left them. So the only loyal allies are CBI and ED. CBI is the only ally of the BJP left," it stated. The party said it was not scared and will fight it out.
The assembly elections in West Bengal are due in April-May. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has launched a vigorous campaign to oust the ruling TMC that had secured consecutive wins in 2011 and 2016 under its leader Mamata Banerjee. A Lok Sabha member, Abhishek Banerjeewields considerable influence in the party and has been leading the Trinamool Congress' counter-attack.