KOLKATA: Trinamool Congress MP and party national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee on Sunday said the BJP government at the Centre is using the ED and CBI for its political interests, unable to accept the setback in the 2021 West Bengal assembly polls.
Banerjee and his wife Rujira left for Delhi to appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for questioning in connection with a probe into a money laundering case linked to a coal scam in West Bengal, a well-placed source said.
"As I had said at a public meeting in 2020 November, if anyone can prove that I had misappropriated even 10 paise, I will walk up the podium and get myself hanged publicly. No need to put ED and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) behind me," Banerjee told reporters at the airport here.
"The BJP is using CBI and ED in its interests. They are yet to accept the drubbing and the rebuff to the brazen flaunting of money and muscle power in the assembly polls," Banerjee, the nephew of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claimed.
Without naming anyone, Banerjee also alleged that the central agencies had never taken any action against "someone who was seen taking wads of currency notes wrapped in a towel and now is a front-ranking leader of state BJP".
This is the reason the impartiality of Central agencies comes into question, he said. "I have been summoned by ED tomorrow. And I have faith in the judicial system. We (TMC) will not surrender," the Diamond Harbour MP vowed.
Both Abhishek Banerjee, and his wife are scheduled to face the ED sleuths for interrogation in the national capital on March 21 and 22, a highly placed source said. Banerjee and his wife had earlier moved the court against the ED's summon to Delhi, stating that since both are residents of West Bengal they should not be called by the agency to appear before it in the national capital.
The Delhi High Court on March 11 had dismissed their plea. Incidentally, Abhishek Banerjee was questioned by ED officials for more than eight hours in September last year on the same matter.
The ED lodged a case under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, based on a November 2020 FIR registered by the CBI that alleged multi-crore coal pilferage related to Eastern Coalfields Limited mines in the state's Kunustoria and Kajora areas in and around Asansol.
Local coal operative Anup Majhi alias Lala is alleged to be the prime suspect in the case. The ED had claimed that the TMC parliamentarian was a beneficiary of the funds obtained from this illegal trade. He has denied all charges.