Will not tolerate….SC’s stern message to Bengal govt in Abhishek Banerjee case
New Delhi, May 17: The Supreme Court has allowed the Enforcement Directorate to interrogate Trinamool Congress MP, Abhishek Banerjee in connection with the coal theft case in West Bengal.
The court told the Bengal government to cooperate with the central agency and also provide protection to its officials when they are in the state to question Banerjee, the nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee.
The probe agency should tell Banerjee at least 24 hours before they intend to question him in Kolkata, the Supreme Court said.
The Enforcement Directorate has been allowed to come to the Supreme Court if the investigators ran into any obstruction linked to the Bengal government. The Bench of Justice U U Lalit said it will not tolerate any kind of obstruction and interference by the state machinery.
The ED had earlier claimed that the Mishra brothers received "proceeds of crime worth Rs 730 crore on behalf of some influential persons and for themselves" in this case involving an estimated amount of Rs 1,352 crore.
A "deep system" of political patronage and a "well-oiled" machinery was used to brazenly carry out certain unlawful coal mining in West Bengal, the ED has claimed before a court while seeking the remand of Inspector Mishra in April last year.
A charge sheet was also filed by the ED in May.
Quoting the recorded statement of an unidentified "close associate" of Majhi, the ED had earlier alleged that he had been running his "illegal coal mining business smoothly by managing senior functionaries of a political party of West Bengal through Inspector Mishra."
The statement of this unidentified "witness" furnished by the ED in the remand note stated that "it is a known fact that Vinay Mishra collected money from illegal coal mining of Majhi and his associates for his closely associated political boss in the present ruling party; that Vinay Mishra is youth leader of TMC and he is very close to Abhishek Banerjee and that he (Vinay Mishra) is the eyes and ears of Abhishek Banerjee."
The agency had claimed that documents seized by it show that "Majhi assisted in transferring substantial funds derived from the proceeds of crime to Shri Abhishek Banerjee's close relatives (wife and sister-in-law) at London and Thailand".