KOLKATA: With less than two months to go for the Assembly polls in West Bengal, a team of eight CBI officers grilled the sister-in-law of Abhishek Banerjee, the nephew of CM Mamata Banerjee, at her south Kolkata residence in connection with a coal pilferage case.
Meanwhile, the ED issued notice to the daughter of Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim in connection with suspicious fund siphoning overseas.
The CBI had on Sunday issued a notice on Abhishek’s wife Rujira in the coal smuggling case. She responded on Monday saying she would be available at her residence from 11 am to 3 pm to reply to CBI’s questions.
The CBI team had to wait outside the housing complex of Maneka Gambhir, Abhishek’s sister-in-law, for over 20 minutes as the guards did not allow the vehicles of the central agency to enter. The security guards told the officers that the journalists would enter the premises if their vehicles were allowed. However, the officers got of their vehicles and walked into Maneka’s apartment.
"We interrogated her for three hours and recorded her statement. She co-operated with us," said a CBI officer, adding the agency might interrogate her again, if necessary.
The CBI had registered an FIR in November 2020, against businessman Anup Kumar Majhi alias Lala and two general managers and security officials of the Eastern Coalfield Ltd (ECL). It is alleged that Manjhi is involved in illegal mining and theft of coal from leasehold mines of ECL.
Since the FIR was lodged, the BJP, without naming Abhishek Banerjee, has been alleging involvement of several Trinamool Congress leaders and the "nephew", who, they claimed, were instrumental in siphoning off the money earned from the sales of smuggled coal into the fund of the ruling party. In all the campaigns, BJP’s national leadership never missed opportunities to hit out at the Bengal CM on her nephew issue.