In a significant political development a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Bengal, a team of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) reached the residence of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee's nephew, Abhishek Banerjee, on Sunday afternoon.
The five-member CBI team went there to issue summons to Abhishek's wife, Rujira, it has been learnt.
The agency has reportedly spotted irregularities in Rujira's bank account. They suspect these transactions might be linked to the coal scam they are probing.
The CBI wants to interrogate Rujira and record her statement, people having the knowledge of the CBI's investigation said.
Abhishek and Rujira were not home when this team reached their residence in south Kolkata and the officers were waiting outside till the filing of this report.
However, responding to the developments, Abhishek said he would not be cowed down by such ploys.
"At 2pm today, the CBI served a notice in the name of my wife. We have full faith in the law of the land. However, if they think they can use these ploys to intimidate us, they are mistaken. We are not the ones who would ever be cowed down," Abhishek tweeted.
At 2pm today, the CBI served a notice in the name of my wife. We have full faith in the law of the land. However, if they think they can use these ploys to intimidate us, they are mistaken. We are not the ones who would ever be cowed down. pic.twitter.com/U0YB6SC5b8— Abhishek Banerjee (@abhishekaitc) February 21, 2021
Abhishek is a Lok Sabha MP and the Trinamool Congress' youth wing chief. He is considered Mamata's political heir.
Over the past few years, the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) has repeatedly used Abhishek as a stick to beat Mamata Banerjee with, by repeatedly alleging that her nephew was involved in all sorts of corruption and extortion.
No allegation against Abhishek has been proved till date.
Abhishek's wife, too, has faced charges from central agencies. In March 2019, in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, customs authorities at NSC Bose international airport had alleged that Rujira used the state police to evade scanning of her luggage that customs officials suspected to be carrying illegal gold.
However, she moved to the Calcutta high court, which ruled in her favour.
In March 2019, the ministry of home affairs, too, issued a notice to Rujira alleging discrepancies in her records. However, there has been no further development to that case since the Lok Sabha elections were over.
A senior TMC leader who did not want to be identified said, "This is nothing but a political conspiracy ahead of the elections. The party will issue a formal statement."