Kolkata/New Delhi, Amar Shakti : The Supreme Court directed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to inform whether Look Out Circulars (LOCs) have been issued against Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee and his wife Rujira Banerjee in money laundering cases related to the alleged coal scam in West Bengal. A bench of Justice SK Kaul and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia sought information in this regard from Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing for the ED, when it was hearing a petition related to the couple’s permission to travel abroad.
On what basis the lookout notice was issued
The bench said, “Investigation is pending. You can call them when needed. On what basis have you issued a lookout notice against him? Traveling abroad is also a right, unless there is reason that the accused will flee. We only want to know whether a lookout notice has been issued for the petitioners. They want to go abroad for medical treatment, why shouldn’t they be allowed to travel abroad?” Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Abhishek and his wife, said that the Trinamool MP has to go abroad on July 26 due to medical reasons. Despite repeated intimations, the agency did not respond, due to which they had to move the apex court. Sibal said that Abhishek Banerjee and his wife had traveled abroad in the past and there was no hindrance in the investigation against them.
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Permission was given to inquire after giving notice 24 hours ago
The apex court had earlier allowed the ED to interrogate the couple at its Kolkata office after giving them at least 24 hours notice in connection with the alleged coal scam. Rujira was reportedly stopped from boarding a flight to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on June 5 citing the ED’s lookout notice, asking her to appear before the agency. The ED had registered a case in November 2020 under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 on the basis of an FIR lodged by the CBI.
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Abhishek denied all the allegations
The FIR alleged a multi-crore coal theft scam related to Eastern Coalfields Limited’s mines in Asansol and its adjoining Kunustoria and Kajora areas of the state. Local coal smuggling gang leader Anup Majhi alias Lala is accused of being the prime suspect in the case. The ED had claimed that Abhishek Banerjee (35), nephew of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, was the beneficiary of the money obtained from this illegal trade. Abhishek has denied all the allegations.
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The Calcutta High Court accepted that petition of the BJP. In which the intervention of the court was sought on the call of Trinamool National General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to ‘gherao the house’ of BJP leaders across the state on August 5. However, a division bench of Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmoy Bhattacharya rejected the plea for fast-track hearing of the case. While filing the petition, BJP’s lawyer Suryanil Das argued that such political programs are against the fundamental rights of the citizens of the country and therefore court’s intervention is needed so that such programs are not organized.
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what is the matter
Abhishek Banerjee called upon Trinamool workers to gherao the houses of BJP leaders of the state from the stage of the Martyr’s Day meeting on Friday. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also supported the movement and suggested that this demonstration should be done at a distance of 100 meters from the residence of BJP leaders. Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Shubhendu Adhikari has already lodged an FIR against Mamta and Abhishek in a Kolkata police station in this matter. The bench accepted the petition, but rejected the petition for fast track hearing in this case, and the bench said that the leaders and activists who may be affected by this program should also be made parties.
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