New Delhi: The Delhi High Court exempted for the time being the physical appearance of Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Abhishek Banerjee’s wife Rujira Banerjee before a trial court in connection with a money laundering case linked to an alleged coal scam in West Bengal. The trial court in Delhi had directed Rujira Banerjee to appear before it personally October 12.
The high court said it will hear October 29, the plea filed by Rujira challenging the Enforcement Directorate’s complaint filed in the case, the trial court order taking cognizance of that complaint and the subsequent issuance of a summons for physical appearance.
Justice Yogesh Khanna granted Rujira’s exemption from personal appearance for the time being after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Enforcement Directorate, urged the court to take up her plea for hearing after the Dussehra break. “Till then, the lady client (Rujira) may not appear in person,” said the Solicitor General.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Rujira, prayed that her client be allowed to appear through her lawyer before the trial court. “List on October 29. Meanwhile, the petitioner will appear before the trial court through counsel,” the judge ordered.
Rujira has contended that the Enforcement Directorate (ED)’s complaint against her is arbitrary, false, vexatious and an abuse of the process of law. The complaint has been filed to harass and cause prejudice to her and her family, the petition contended.
“A bare perusal of the impugned complaint confirms that the respondent agency (ED) falsely averred that petitioner had not complied with its illegal summonses (issued by ED)… Owing to the fact that she is a mother of two young children and a resident of Kolkata, the petitioner has repeatedly requested that she be examined at her residence in Kolkata. The fact that the petitioner was in constant dialogue with the respondent in relation to the aforementioned summons clearly shows that there was no intention on the part of the petitioner to disobey the same,” the petition said.
The couple has already approached the high court for quashing of summons issued to them by the ED for questioning in the case.
Abhishek, the 33-year-old MP is the nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee. He represents the Diamond Harbour seat in Lok Sabha and is the national general secretary of the TMC.