New Delhi: The Supreme Court granted relief Monday to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee’s nephew and Trinamool Congress (TMC) general secretary Abhishek Banerjee. He had moved the top court challenging the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) summons issued in connection with a money laundering case linked to the alleged coal scam in the state. A Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice UU Lalit and comprising Justice S Ravindra Bhat extended protection from the arrest for Abhishek Banerjee and also permitted him to travel abroad.
Last week, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Abhishek, said his client has to go to Dubai for a medical procedure but the ED opposed it. The probe agency said Abhishek may not come back. Sibal insisted that there is urgency in the matter and a plea was filed before the Calcutta High Court, and it was opposed saying that he would not come back.
Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, representing the ED, submitted that they have been granted the relief of being interrogated in Kolkata. The top court had then scheduled the matter for further hearing September 5.
The top court had granted relief May 17 to Abhsihek and his wife Rujira Banerjee by asking ED to examine them in its Kolkata office, instead of summoning them to Delhi, after giving a 24-hour advance notice. The top court had also stayed the Delhi High Court order which dismissed the couple’s plea seeking quashing of summonses issued to them in a money-laundering case linked to the alleged West Bengal coal scam.
Abhishek and his wife’s plea said: “The party to which the Petitioner No.1 (Abhishek) belonged, comprehensively trounced the political party at power in the Centre, thereby giving justifiable cause to ‘target’ and ‘fix’ the Petitioner No.1, by misusing the Central Investigation Agencies.”
The plea further said, “The petitioners’ contention of political victimisation is further fortified by the inscrutable and inexplicable insistence of the ED to interrogate the petitioners at their New Delhi office instead of their full-fledged office in Kolkata. The ED seems more interested in causing prejudice to the petitioners herein rather than sincerely and expeditiously investigate the alleged offence.”