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Monday, April 22, 2024

TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee appears at Nizam Palace to face CBI questioning


Amidst a massive security blanket, Trinamool Congress National General Secretary and MP from Diamond Harbour Abhishek Banerjee, who on Friday dared the CBI to arrest him, arrived at Nizam Palace in the city to appear before the investigation officials on Saturday following summon by the CBI for questioning in regard to the state government-aided school teachers’ recruitment scam case.

Banerjee, who embarked upon a two-month-long ‘Jono Sanjog Yatra’ as part of ‘Trinamoole Nabo Jowar’ from April 25 starting from Cooch Behar in North Bengal to Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas ahead of the Panchayat election, had to cut short his “Jono Sonjog Yatra” and return to Kolkata by Friday night for appearance in the CBI office.

Daring the CBI to arrest him if it can, the nephew of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said during a public meeting in Bankura district. ‘ The ED and CBI have been after me for years. They have spared none – neither my wife nor my secretary nor my lawyer. Their continuous probe for the past three to four years has now become a joke. ‘

After receiving the summon, Banerjee said, ” I have received a summon from the CBI to appear before them tomorrow, on 20th May’23 for examination. Despite not being given even a day’s prior notice, I will still abide by the summon. I will give my full cooperation during the course of the investigation. As for my ‘Jono Sonjog Yatra’ it will resume again on May 22 from the same location in Bankura where I stopped today. Unfazed by this event , I shall strive to serve the people of West Bengal with even greater dedication, zeal and commitment. ‘

The summon came a day after Calcutta High Court Justice Amrita Sinha on Thursday dismissed Banerjee’s plea challenging Justice Abhijeet Ganguly’s order allowing Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to question him in the teachers’ recruitment scam. The same appeal was also moved by TMC youth wing leader Kuntal Ghosh, and both appeals stood dismissed. The High Court fined Rs 25 lac to both Banerjee and Ghosh and said CBI and ED can quiz the TMC MP whenever they want. Justice Amrita Sinha upheld the order of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay.

Abhishek Banerjee challenged the verdict in the Supreme Court. Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud of the Supreme Court stayed the interrogation of Abhishek. Later, on the order of the Supreme Court, the case was transferred from the bench of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay to the bench of Justice Sinha, who also said the central agency can interrogate Abhishek if it wants.

Abhishek’s lawyer appealed to the High Court to review the High Court’s old order. Besides, he applied for interim stay. However, Justice Amrita Sinha rejected the application, saying, ‘The court will be open 24 hours a day. He can come to the court whenever he wants. But no protection can be given.’

In the Kuntal letter case, Justice Amrita Sinha observed, ‘No one is above the law.’ She raised the question, ‘Where is Abhishek’s difficulty in cooperating with the investigation? ‘ Justice Amrita Sinha ordered Abhishek Banerjee to cooperate with the investigation, and on Thursday, Justice Amrita Sinha upheld Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay’s order.

Reacting sharply to the CBI summon to Banerjee, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said, ‘ The BJP is politically scared of Abhishek. ‘

Virtually addressing a public meeting in Bankura following Abhishek Banerjee’s cutting short his programme following the summon, the Chief Minister said, ‘ Trinamool Congress family is people’s family. We have blood relation with people. ‘

Charging the BJP with trying to hinder the ‘Trinamoole Nabo Jowar’, Banerjee said, ‘ The fight will continue till the BJP is ousted from power. I won’t genuflect in front of the BJP. I can’t be cowed down by any intimidation, ED and CBI are afraid of the Trinamool Congress, but ‘Trinamoole Nabo Jowar’ can’t be stopped by stopping Abhishek. If needed I will join ‘Jono Sanjog Yatra’ and visit the districts, and ‘Trinamoole Nabo Jowar’ will continue. After routing in Karnataka Assembly election, the BJP will face defeat in every state. ‘

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