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ED to question Rujira Banerjee on coal scam today

Rujira Banerjee

Kolkata, June 23 (UITV/IANS) Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is conducting a parallel probe along with Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the coal smuggling case in West Bengal, has summoned Rujira Narula Banerjee, wife of Trinamool Congress's national general secretary and party MP Abhishek Banerjee, on Thursday.

She has been asked to be present at the agency's office at central government office (CGO) complex at Salt Lake in northern outskirts of Kolkata at 12 p.m.

A team of ED officials from New Delhi landed in Kolkata early this morning and reached the agency CGO complex office. ED sources said that besides notice to Rujira Banerjee, they have also sent separate communications to the chief secretary H.K. Dwivedi and Bidhannagar City Police Commissioner Supratim Sarkar, so that adequate security arrangements are made around the CGO complex office. Accordingly, the road and lanes leading to the CGO complex have been wrapped under blanket security cover since 9 a.m.

To recall, although ED, the investigation arm of the Union finance ministry, initially wanted to grill Rujira Narula Banerjee in connection with the coal smuggling scam at New Delhi only, the Supreme Court allowed the agency to integrate her in Kolkata. At the same time, the apex court also directed the state government to ensure that the central agency sleuths do not face any difficulty in conducting the integration process.

On June 14, a team of CBI officials went to the residence of Rujira Banerjee in South Kolkata and questioned her for a marathon seven hours in connection with the coal smuggling scam. She was mainly questioned about a bank account in the Thailand- capital of Bangkok, which is purportedly held by her and where huge amounts of money were transferred in phases. She had, however, denied knowledge of any such bank account. She was also questioned about a Howrah-based Chartered Accountant Neeraj Singh, who reportedly transferred money to the said bank account. Neeraj Singh is currently absconding.

As per CBI estimates, the total financial involvement in this coal smuggling racket was around Rs 1,300 crore. ED's probe is mainly pertaining to the money-trail angle in the matter.