The Enforcement Directorate has summoned several individuals including Trinamool Congress General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee and his wife Rujira over the ongoing coal scam investigation. While the TMC MP has been asked to come in on 3rd September, his wife has been summoned on 1st September.
Earlier in April this year, the ED had accused West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's nephew and his family of benefitting from illicit funds obtained from certain illegal coal mining in the state under a "deep system" of political patronage driven by a "well-oiled" machinery. Both the CBI and the ED are investigating the multi-crore rupees coal smuggling scam and have previously made several arrests.
In the weeks leading up to the West Bengal Assembly election, Opposition leaders had accused lashed out at Banerjee, with turncoat BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari even releasing an audio clip and contending that the Lok Sabha MP had received Rs 900 crore from rackets involving the smuggling of cows, coal and sand. Both the CBI and the ED have previously interrogated Banerjee and his wife as well as other members of their family. Several people have also been arrested in connection with the case.
The CBI is of the view that the coal scam, arising out of illegal mining from abandoned mines of Eastern Coalfields, runs into several thousands of crores of rupees and part of the crime proceeds had been been transacted through the hawala route. the investigative body had questioned Rujira and Banerjee's sister-in-law Menaka Gambhir.
The Enforcement Directorate case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) was filed after studying a November, 2020 report of the CBI alleging a multi-crore coal pilferage scam. In a remand note in April, the ED had alleged that certain illegal mining instances were flourishing in the state under the "patronage" of the political party in power, linking and subsequently arresting police officials. The Diamond Harbour MP has denied these allegations.
(With inputs from agencies)
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