SC not to meddle with HC order on Abhishek Banerjee’s wife

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New Delhi, July 3 (IANS) In a setback for Centre and the Customs, the Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to interfere with the Calcutta High Court order temporarily suspending the Customs Department’s summons to Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee’s wife Rujira Naroola.

The Customs issued notice seeking appearance of Naroola, who is charged with allegedly blocking Customs officers from checking her baggage at Kolkata airport on her arrival from Bangkok via Thai Airways on March 16.

After hearing the initial arguments of the Customs department, a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said that it is not willing to interfere with the high court order. Though Solicitor General Tushar Mehta vehemently argued for a stay on the high court order, the bench did not budge.

The court observed that the high court had said it will examine the legality of the summons under Section 108 of the Customs Act, and therefore, the department should wait. “We have asked the High Court to expeditiously look into the matter.”

In April, the high Court has asked the department to refrain from taking coercive steps against Naroola till July 31. She has challenged the provision of the Customs Act, which the department cited to issue notice in March.

Initially the single bench had asked her to comply with the summons, but also authorities to refrain from coercive action. She approached the division bench stating that these summons were not legal.

The Customs submitted that X-ray of her bags at the airport had indicated presence of gold, but then the local police intervened, and she was escorted out of the airport. Abhishek Banerjee, the nephew of Chief Minister and party chief Mamata Banerjee, denied reports in the media that 2 kg gold was traced in his wife’s baggage.

–IANS

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