A team of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) recorded the statement of Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee’s sister-in-law Menka Gambhir in connection with its probe into the illegal coal smuggling case.
According to CBI officials, an eight-member team of the CBI led by Investigation officer Umesh Kumar along with two women officers arrived at the residence of Gambhir and recorded her statement for over two and half hours.
CBI sources said that the agency questioned her about few banking transactions.
The development comes a day after CBI summoned Gambhir on Sunday to record her statement in the case, which it registered in November last year.
Meanwhile, Abhishek’s wife Rujira Banerjee, who was delivered a summon at her residence on Sunday afternoon also responded to the CBI and agreed to be question on Tuesday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. at her residence.
Abhishek is the nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee.
The CBI action comes ahead of the high octane Assembly polls scheduled later this year where the ruling Trinamool Congress and the BJP are in a bitter contest.
Following the CBI action, Abhishek on Sunday said that he has full faith in the law of land, but asserted that he would not be cowed down.
“At 2 p.m. today, the CBI served a notice in the name of my wife. We have full faith in the law of the land. However, if they think they can use these ploys to intimidate us, they are mistaken. We are not the ones who would ever be cowed down,” he said in a tweet.
Reacting to the development, Trinamool Congress spokesperson Kunal Ghosh had said that there is nothing new in it as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was trying everything to unseat the Trinamool Congress-led government in West Bengal.
“They are using central agencies to malign the image of Abhishek Banerjee ahead of the state Assembly elections. The CBI notice is just a step towards that,” he said.
The CBI had registered a case of illegal theft of coal last year in November. The agency had registered a case against coal mafia Anup Majhi alias Lala, his deputy J. Mondal, and other unidentified people, including some employees of the Eastern Coalfields Ltd. and of other Central government offices. It was alleged that Majhi was involved in coal theft from the leasehold mines of the ECL in Kunustoria and Kajora areas.
On November 28 last year, the CBI had conducted raids at 45 locations in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh in connection with the coal smuggling racket.
On February 19, the CBI team carried out searches at 13 locations in four districts of West Bengal, including the premises of coal mafia Jaidev Mondal.