The Enforcement Directorate (ED) was left red-faced when Maneka Gambhir, the sister-in-law of TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee, arrived at its office in Kolkata past midnight as the notice served on her in a money laundering case asked her to appear before the agency at 12.30 a.m. on September 12.
Wearing a blue kurta, Ms. Gambir reached the ED office at CGO complex in the Salt Lake area and posed for a picture before a locked office along with the notice, which the agency later termed as a “typographical error”.
“I was served with notice to report at 12:30 a.m. and so I had come,” Ms. Gambhir later told a local news channel. She was accompanied by a lawyer during her midnight visit to the ED office.
Ms. Gambhir was handed over the summons to appear at the ED office in Kolkata on September 12 “at 12:30 a.m.” by agency officials at the Kolkata airport on September 10 after she was denied from taking an international flight. The agency said she was required to join investigation in an alleged coal scam case.
She has been issued a fresh summons to appear before the agency here around 2 p.m., the officials said. The sources said the midnight time printed on the earlier summons was a “typographical error” and erroneous and it should have been “12:30 p.m.” on September 12.
Ms. Gambhir has not been questioned by the ED in this case till now. The CBI had earlier questioned her in the said case.
The Calcutta High Court in August directed the ED to question Ms. Gambhir at its regional office in Kolkata and not in Delhi and also not to take coercive steps against her till the next date of hearing.
Ms. Gambhir had challenged an ED summons that asked her to appear before it in Delhi on September 5 in connection with the alleged coal scam case and had sought direction from the court to the agency to allow her to appear before it in Kolkata, where she claimed she resides.
The ED has questioned Mr. 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 in this case earlier.
This case is being investigated by the ED under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) with Anup Majee being alleged to be the kingpin of a coal mining pilferage-linked money laundering case related to Eastern Coalfield Limited’s mines in Kunustoria and Kajora in and around Asansol in West Bengal.
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