Abhishek’s wife responds to CBI notice, ready to be quizzed

A day after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) served a notice, West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha MP and Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee’s wife Rujira responded to the communication on Monday saying she is ready to be quizzed by the federal agency, party sources said.

According to sources, she also asked the CBI investigators to visit her Harish Mukherjee Road residence between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Tuesday. Rujira said that she was unaware of the reason for which she was being called for questioning and the matter of the investigation. Although there were CBI searches earlier in the day at her sister’s residence in connection with its probe into the illegal coal smuggling case.

A five-member team of CBI’s anti-corruption branch went to Abhishek Banerjee’s south Kolkata residence on Sunday afternoon and served the notice. The Trinamool second-in-command’s wife was summoned for interrogation.

Sources said that Rujira was not present at the building named Santiniketan when the CBI team arrived there around 2 p.m. on Sunday. A huge contingent of police was deployed around the house following the CBI raid.

Earlier, the CBI had also summoned Rujira’s sister Menka Gambhir for interrogation. A CBI team, along with lady officials, officials arrived at Menka’s high-rise residential complex at Panchashyar on Monday, at around 12 noon.

The team, led by Umesh Kumar, had to wait at the main entrance for some time till they got the permission to go up. Menka stays at Upohar Luxury Complex (Tower-3) near Kolkata’s EM Bypass.

Abhishek and Rujira got married in 2012 and have two children.

Earlier on November 28 last year, the CBI’s anti-corruption branch had conducted marathon raids in as many as 45 different locations in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh in connection with a coal-smuggling racket.

The federal agency had also raided the offices and homes of kingpin Anup Majhi, alias Lala, in Asansol, Durgapur, and Raniganj in Burdwan district, as well as at Bishnupur in Kolkata’s adjoining South 24-Parganas district.

That time they had also carried out search operations in some of the houses of Majhi’s associates. Majhi is the alleged kingpin of the illegal coal operation that was running in the open cast colliery belts along the Bengal-Jharkhand border.

On February 2, the investigating team of CBI also went to Andal area and visited some open-cast mines at Kajora. They had conducted a detail probe into the illegal mining syndicate, carrying out raids in Asansol-Durgapur belt to collate more information about the illegal network.