THE CBI on Tuesday questioned TMC general secretary Abhishek Banerjee’s wife Rujira for more than six hours at her residence in Kolkata in connection with a coal pilferage case. An eight-member team of CBI officials reached Abhishek’s Shantiniketan Apartment just before noon. They left around 6:30 pm.
The ruling TMC termed the move a “political witch hunt.”
“Political witch-hunt by the Centre is shameful! Minutes after our National General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee lands in Agartala, ‘remote controlled’ CBI springs into action. Your fear is evident @BJP4India, but we won’t back down!,” the TMC tweeted on Tuesday.
Diamond Harbour MP Abhishek Banerjee said the CBI’s move came because the BJP-led Centre did not want him to visit Tripura.
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“Chose this day for interrogation because they didn’t want me to come here! But no force can stop us! We don’t want DUARE GUNDA, we want DUARE SARKAR! Tripura will not be controlled from Delhi but by Tripura’s people!,” said Abhishek while addressing a public rally in Tripura.
Earlier, the CBI interrogated Rujira in February last year ahead of the Assembly elections in the state. According to sources, Rujira is being questioned over financial transactions in a foreign account. The agency suspects a connection between the money transferred to the account and proceeds of the illegal coal excavation money, sources said.
“It is political vendetta, what else do you call it? On the day when Abhishek was scheduled to address a rally in Tripura, the CBI arrived at his house to question his wife. This is not a coincidence. The TMC will never bow down,” said TMC’s spokesperson Kunal Ghosh.
The CBI’s move has stirred a political tussle here again. Senior CPI (M) leader Sujan Chakraborty said, “What is there to be so disturbed if the CBI is at his (Abhishek’s) home to interrogate? The agency had called them to Delhi, it was Abhishek Banerjee who wanted the CBI to interrogate at his residence in Kolkata and he approached the court. Why is he reacting now? Maybe he wanted the central agencies to step back and not interrogate them at all. Statements like “we won’t bow down” doesn’t suit people whose names are involved in smuggling cases and all kinds of corrupt practices.”
“The CBI is a neutral agency, it probes cases under law. It is unnecessary to allege otherwise,” said BJP’s state chief Sukanta Majumdar.
Earlier, Abhishek visited Delhi several times and faced questioning by the central agencies.
The multi-crore coal pilferage scam is related to the Eastern Coalfields Ltd mines in West Bengal’s Kunustoria and Kajora areas. The CBI registered an FIR in November 2020 under various sections of the IPC, including criminal breach of trust by public servants and criminal misconduct by public servants by dishonestly or fraudulently misappropriating the property entrusted to them.