The politics of revenge occupied centre stage in Bengal as two prominent political rivals resorted to different responses to summons issued to them by probe agencies.
Trinamul’s all-India general secretary and Diamond Harbour MP Abhishek Banerjee landed at the doorstep of the Enforcement Directorate in Delhi, while his fiercest rival and former colleague Suvendu Adhikary, Bengal’s leader of the Opposition, chose to stay away in distant Bankura instead of the CID headquarters at Bhabani Bhawan.
Later in the day, however, Adhikari received a reprieve from Calcutta High Court that ruled that no coercive action could be taken on him without its intervention and stayed proceedings in three of the five cases against him.
“The investigating agency (ED) had summoned me for today. I am ready to face any investigation. Investigation agency is doing its job. As a citizen I must cooperate with them,” Abhishek said in Delhi.
Before departing for Delhi on Sunday evening, Abhishek had accused the BJP of indulging in political vendetta after its bitter loss in the Assembly polls.
Apart from Abhishek, the ED had also summoned his wife Rujira to appear before it on September 1, which she had declined on the grounds of the ongoing Covid pandemic, saying that being the mother of two young children she would be putting them at risk in case of travel.
The Enforcement Directorate took up the case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act following an FIR lodged by the CBI in November 2020, relating to illegal activities in the Eastern Coalfield mines in Asanasol’s Kunustoria and Kajora, in which Abhishek, his wife and her sister are among those accused.
While Abhishek was ranting about the BJP’s vendetta politics, the state CID issued summons to Adhikary in connection with the unnatural death of his guard Subhabrata Chakraborty. He was asked to appear at Bhabani Bhawan around 11 am on Monday.
Instead, Adhikary sent an email apologising for his absence for the day as he was busy attending party events at Bankura.
Chakraborty, a security guard of Adhikary while he was a Trinamul minister, was shot dead in 2018. After the Bengal poll results were announced, Chakraborty’s widow lodged a complaint of murder following which Adhikary was summoned.
CID has also summoned Adhikary’s personal driver, Sambhu Maity, and a close associate, Sanjeev Shukla, to appear before the sleuths on September 7.
Adhikary has lodged a case with the Calcutta High Court with an appeal to either quash all the five cases filed against him by the Bengal government or to hand over the probe to the CBI, as he does not have faith in state-controlled investigating agencies.
The court ordered stay of proceedings in three of the five cases against him, while investigations are to continue in the remaining two. Also, ndtv.com reported that no coercive action could be initiated against the BJP leader without the court's intervention.