(This story was originally published in . on 21st March 2022)
Trinamool Congress national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee vowed to “fight till the end” before traveling to New Delhi on Sunday to attend the Enforcement Directorate (ED) summons for questioning in the illegal coal mining case. Incidentally, Kolkata Police has issued summons to three ED officials, who are probing the same case, based on a complaint lodged by Banerjee last April.
Banerjee said she has received an e-mail from the central agency, asking her to appear on Monday. According to the summons issued by the Kolkata Police, the ED officials have to report to the Kalighat police station by 12 noon on Monday.
“I will not bow down. I will not be cowardly. Neither will we surrender nor will we sell our spine. We will see this fight till the end, no matter how long it takes,” Banerjee said before taking off for Delhi. He said he had undergone eye surgery four days ago and was advised bed rest. “But I’m still going,” he said.
He said that he had appealed against it in the Delhi High Court in August 2021. “It was heard till November. The judgment was then reserved for three months. On March 10, the BJP had won four of the five states. On March 11, my appeal was dismissed. While I have full faith in the judiciary, this cannot be a coincidence. I can appeal in the top court.”
Linking the summons to the BJP’s dismal performance in the 2021 Bengal elections, he said: “Bengal will not bow its head. If I had to bow down, I would do it a hundred times in front of the people, not in front of them (BJP government at the Centre).”
Legal consultation was on with regard to the ED summons to Banerjee’s wife Rujira.
The agency’s summons to Banerjee and police summons to three ED officials are linked to allegations of illegal coal-mining worth crores that came to light in 2020 after the government-owned Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL) filed a complaint.
The Kolkata Police’s summons for questioning of three ED officials pertains to an FIR lodged by Banerjee last April.
The CBI and ED are now investigating the illegal coal mining scam that came to light in the poll-bound Bengal. The case has been implicated in several court battles, with the Bengal government questioning the legitimacy of the CBI probe after Bengal withdrew its consent for a CBI probe.
Estimated to be around Rs 2,000 crore, several people were implicated in the FIR, alleging that they were close to the Trinamool. Banerjee has consistently denied the allegations and questioned the intent of the central agencies behind the investigation. “This is a two year old case, but I will reiterate what I said at a public rally in 2020 regarding this issue: If an agency can prove that I have misappropriated even 10 paise of money, no CBI There will be no need or ED will investigate – I will publicly embrace death.”
Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.