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ED summons Abhishek Banerjee and his wife in illegal mining case: CM Mamata says ‘Never came across such vindictive party’

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued summons to Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader asking them to appear before it in Delhi in connection with its money laundering probe related to an illegal coal mining scam, people familiar with the matter said on Saturday.

Hours after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) summoned TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee, who is also nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, and his wife in an alleged coal scam, he said that he and his party leaders would fight against the BJP till the “last drop of their blood”.

“TMC will go to all states where BJP killed democracy and snatched away people’s rights. We will fight them till last drop of our blood. They think if they scare us we wll sit down. But this is land of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Swami Vivekanand, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa,” Banerjee said in Kalighat.

Abhishek Banerjee, who is a Parliament member and chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew, has been asked to appear for questioning on September 6 and Rujira on September 1. He faces both ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe in the case. CBI questioned Rujira in February this year as well.

Some police officers from West Bengal have also been asked to appear before ED in September, people cited above said.

This case, registered under criminal sections of the PMLA, was filed by the ED after studying a November, 2020 FIR of the CBI that alleged a multi-crore coal pilferage scam related to Eastern Coalfields Ltd. mines in the state’s Kunustoria and Kajora areas in and around Asansol.

The agency has made at least two arrests in this case. One of them is Vikas Mishra, the brother of TMC youth wing leader Vinay Mishra. Vinay Mishra is stated to have left the country sometime back and probably has also renounced his Indian citizenship.

The second person arrested by the ED in the case early this year is former Inspector in-charge of Bankura police station Ashok Kumar Mishra.

The ED had earlier claimed that the Mishra brothers received “proceeds of crime worth ₹730 crore on behalf of some influential persons and for themselves” in this case involving an estimated amount of ₹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.

A charge sheet was also filed by the ED in May this year.

Meanwhile, Mamata Banerjee also hit out at the BJP-led Centre over the ED summons and said that it is using agencies against the TMC as it can’t fight them politically.

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