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ED summons Abhishek Banerjee’s wife Rujira for questioning, stops her from embarking on Dubai trip

Rujira has been asked to appear before ED officers at agency’s office in CGO Complex at 11 am on Thursday

Kinsuk Basu Calcutta Published 06.06.23, 05:33 AM
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Representational image File picture

The Enforcement Directorate on Monday summoned Trinamul Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee’s wife Rujira for questioning on June 8 in the coal pilferage case, hours after she had been stopped at the Calcutta airport from embarking on a Dubai trip.

Rujira has been asked to appear before ED officers at the agency’s office in CGO Complex here at 11 am on Thursday.

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Senior officials at the airport’s immigration department said Rujira had collected her boarding pass when she was stopped with her two kids, apparently on the basis of a lookout notice issued by the central agency. Rujira was later handed the summons, ED officials said.

Both Abhishek and Rujira had faced interrogators from the ED in the past in connection with the alleged coal pilferage case that is under investigation. Abhishek has even appeared before ED officers at the agency’s New Delhi headquarters where his statements were recorded under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

Sources close to Rujira said she had informed the ED on Saturday about her travel plans to Dubai from June 5 to June 13 with her children. She had even handed over a copy of her tickets to the central agency, they said.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee reacted sharply to the turn of events and said it was “inhuman.”

“Her mother is ailing. The apex court has cleared her visits abroad with a rider that she needs to inform the ED. She did inform (the agency) about her travel plans few days back,” Mamata said.

“ED could have then asked not to go. But handing over a notice at the airport is inhuman.”

Senior leaders in the Trinamul Congress said since last June, Rujira has not been called for interrogation and ED has not stopped her from visiting abroad.

ED officials remained tight-lipped about the day’s development and officially refused to comment.

Senior officers said they wanted to question Rujira in connection with financial transactions of two companies -— Leaps and Bound Private Limited and Leaps and Bound Management Services LLP — where she was involved. Last September, the ED had stopped Maneka Gambhir, Rujira’s sister, from flying out to Bangkok at the NSCBI airport.

Bengal’s leader of the Opposition Suvendhu Adhikari said he was curious to know why the Chief Minister’s nephew and his wife need to travel abroad so frequently.

“I would like to ask the chief minister why her nephew and his wife need to. Why has the need to travel abroad increased since 2014? Why does the wife of a politician from Bengal need to have a bank account in Thailand? Rujira knew that there was a lookout notice against her,” Suvendu said.

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