West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee and his wife Rujira Banerjee have approached the Delhi High Court seeking quashing of the summons issued to the couple by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with its money laundering probe.
The Trinamool Congress parliamentarian in his plea says that the ED is summoning him and his wife without specifying whether they are being summoned as witnesses or accused, nor indicating the scope of the investigation being carried out.
“It is submitted that the Respondent cannot be allowed to exercise the threat of prosecution and penalty inherent under Section 50 of the PMLA to coerce persons to become witnesses against themselves and violate the fundamental protection under Article 20(3) of the Constitution of India, 1950,” the plea filed through Advocate Rupin Bahl and Angad Mehta.
Raising questions over the probe being conducted by the financial watchdogs, Banerjee in his plea said that he has serious apprehensions about the fairness of the investigation being conducted by the Respondent (ED) owing to the fact that the Respondent is adopting a pick and choose the attitude with respect to certain persons and is giving undue benefit and protection to complicit individuals and in return extracting false, baseless and malicious statements from them.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Enforcement Directorate had filed a petition before the high court here seeking quashing of the summons issued against its officials by the Special Cell of the Kolkata Police in an FIR registered on the complaint of TMC leader & Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee
The said officials, all at the rank of Assistant Director, are probing the illegal coal mining scam case involving Abhishek Banerjee.
“It is pertinent to mention that the investigation into the illegal coal mining and the role of the complainant therein Mr.Abhishek Banerjee is being investigated by the Directorate of Enforcement in the exercise of its statutory powers under PMLA in the Headquarters at New Delhi,” the ED said in its plea filed through Central government standing counsel Amit Mahajan.
The federal probe agency further said that in order to pressurize the Enforcement Directorate and the officers investigating the case related to illegal coal mining, Abhishek Banerjee lodged an FIR on date 05.04.2021, against a News Channel and in furtherance of the same, notices have been issued to the IOs investigating the case of illegal coal mining by the West Bengal Police.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on last Saturday had issued fresh summons to Banerjee in connection with the money laundering case linked to an alleged coal pilferage scam in West Bengal.
Apart from West Bengal CM’s nephew, the agency has also summoned some of the IPS officers, barring Gyanwant Singh. It is being said that all IPS officers have responded to ED summons in the coal scam case.
The West Bengal Coal Scam came into spotlight on November 27, 2020, after the CBI Kolkata registered a case against several leaders, unknown officials of ECL, CISF, Railways and other departments under various sections of IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act.
The ED later took up the investigation, and it was revealed that “large proceeds of crime” were generated and laundered due to illegal coal mining near railway areas.
Later in February, the CBI was restricted from investigating the illegal mining and transportation of coal, but was allowed by the Calcutta High Court to continue its probe.