Citing Covid-19, Rujira Banerjee refuses to appear before ED in coal scam case

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Citing Covid-19, Rujira Banerjee refuses to appear before ED in coal scam case

New Delhi :Rujira Banerjee, the wife of Trinamool Congress national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee, on Wednesday expressed her inability to appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in New Delhi in connection with the coal pilferage scam. Citing the ongoing coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, Rujira requested the ED officials to visit her residence in Kolkata instead.Last month, the ED issued summons to Abhishek and Rujira to appear before it for questioning in a money laundering case linked to an alleged coal scam in West Bengal. While Abhishek, the nephew of TMC supremo and Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, had been asked to appear before the agency on September 6, his wife was asked to appear on Wednesday (September 1).

In a letter addressed to ED’s assistant director SumatPrakash Jain, Rujira said, “This refers to summons dated August 18, 2021 asking me to appear in person in New Delhi on September 1. I am a mother of two infants, and travelling to New Delhi physically alone in the midst of the pandemic will put me and my children at grave risk.”

Assuring cooperation from her side in the questioning, she said in the letter that the alleged cause of action of the subject matter of the ED’s inquiry too arose out of West Bengal. "You may communicate your decision. I assure you of every cooperation from my side,” Rujira said.

The ED’s money laundering probe is based on the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI’s) First Information Report (FIR), which was registered in November last year regarding alleged mass coal pilferage in Eastern Coalfields Limited mines in Kunustoria and Kajora regions of West Bengal. AnupMajhi also known as Lala, is said to be the prime suspect in the caseIn February, a from the CBI had questioned Rujira at her residence in connection with the case.