Coal Smuggling Case: SC Grants Abhishek Banerjee, Wife Rujira Protection From Arrest


New Delhi: Trinamool MP Abhishek Banerjee and his wife Rujira will be provided protection in the coal smuggling case.

Justice UU Lalit told the central agency: “We will give protection to the man (Abhishek Banerjee) also. In case you want to interrogate you have to give a 24-hour notice.”

The SC, at the same time, warned Abhishek Banerjee that there should be “no protest or vandalism” in case he is called for questioning. “If any hooliganism takes place, we will withdraw the protection,” the court said.

Moreover, it agreed to examine the legal issue of whether such protection can be extended only to women or extended to all persons.

A notice in this regard has been issued to the Enforcement Directorate and the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The ED summoned Abhishek Banerjee and his wife Rujira to appear for questioning at its Delhi office on March 21 and 22. Banerjee and his wife had earlier moved the Delhi High Court against the ED’s summons, but the court refused to grant them any relief. The parliamentarian has repeatedly stated that the ED should question him and his wife in Kolkata and not in Delhi.

A bailable warrant was issued later when Rujira failed to appear in Delhi for questioning by ED.

The CBI lodged an FIR against Anup Majee, Eastern Coalfield Limited (ECL) and unknown others for illegally extracting coal from the Durgapur-Asansol belt and later from Jharkhand.

Sources said illegal coal worth crores of rupees was smuggled in these border areas with the help of government officials and politicians.

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