ED Stops Abhishek Banerjee’s Relative From Flying Abroad, Asks To Join Money Laundering Probe

TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee’s sister-in-law Maneka Gambhir was prevented from travelling overseas on Saturday evening by the ED at the Kolkata airport and was given summons to join an inquiry into money laundering, according to official sources, news agency PTI reported.

Gambhir had arrived at the airport, ready to board a flight to Bangkok at approximately 9 p.m.

According to the sources, Gambhir was refused immigration clearance on the basis of a Look Out Circular (LOC) issued by the federal investigation agency against her.

She was halted by immigration officers, who notified the Enforcement Directorate (ED), who then arrived at the airport, met with her, and denied her permission to fly, they added.

According to the sources, ED authorities summoned her to appear before the agency on Monday (September 12) at 11 a.m. at its Salt Lake area office in Kolkata for interrogation in a money laundering case relating to an alleged coal pilferage case in West Bengal.

She is said to have departed the airport for her home in Kolkata at 10:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Until date, Gambhir has not been questioned by the ED in this issue. The CBI had already questioned her in the aforementioned instance.

In August, the Calcutta High Court asked the ED to examine Gambhir at its regional office in Kolkata rather than in Delhi, and to refrain from taking coercive measures against her until the next date of hearing.

Gambhir had contested an ED summons ordering her to appear in Delhi on September 5 in connection with the alleged coal scam case, and had requested the court to order the agency to enable her to appear in Kolkata, where she claimed to reside.

In this matter, the ED previously questioned Abhishek Banerjee, the nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the national general general secretary of the Trinamool Congress (TMC), and his wife Rujira.

While Abhishek Banerjee has been questioned by the ED in both Delhi and Kolkata, Rujira has only been questioned in Kolkata after obtaining a similar judicial relief as Gambhir.

The ED is investigating this case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), with Anup Majee accused of being the ringleader of a coal mining pilferage-related money laundering case involving Eastern Coalfield Limited’s mines at Kunustoria and Kajora in and around Asansol, West Bengal.

(With Inputs From PTI)