Home / Politics / News /  Coal scam: TMC’s Abhishek Banerjee attacks Amit Shah after ED grills him for 7 hours

After a seven-hour long grilling by ED officials, TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee on Friday dared Union Home Minister Amit Shah to prove charges of wrongdoing in an alleged case of coal pilferage and to put him behind bars.

The Trinamool Congress MP, considered number 2 in the party, also advised Shah to teach nationalism to his son and make sure that the law and order situation improves in Delhi.

"If needed, I am ready to face questioning 30 times, but will not bow my head before the BJP. I have attacked his (Amit Shah's) son over the national flag issue but that does not mean the ED and CBI can be used to threaten me," he told reporters.

Earlier, the Delhi High Court refused to grant interim relief to Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Abhishek Banerjee and his wife Rujira Banerjee. The court asked ED to reply on the plea.

In reply to the plea, the agency said that the petition by Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Abhishek Banerjee and his wife, seeking quashing of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) summons in the money laundering case linked to an alleged coal scam, was premature and not maintainable.

The 33-year-old MP represents the Diamond Harbour seat in Lok Sabha and is the national general secretary of the Trinamool Congress (TMC).

Video footage of BCCI secretary Jay Shah, son of the Union home minister, appearing to turn down an offer to wave the national flag after India beat Pakistan in an Asia Cup match in Dubai on August 28 has sparked a controversy.

Banerjee wondered why the top BJP leader who "teaches patriotism to the entire country has failed to educate his son".

The TMC leader said, “I dare him (Amit Shah) to prove I have committed a wrong and put me behind bars. If they can prove a single allegation, I am ready to walk to the gallows."

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had issued a fresh summons to Banerjee to appear before its officers on Friday in connection with its ongoing investigation into the coal pilferage scam.

He reached the agency's office at CGO Complex in Salt Lake near Kolkata at around 11 am and came out nearly at 6 pm.

The investigators claimed that the MP, who is the nephew of state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, did not cooperate in the investigation. He, however, asserted that he did.

“He was asked some specific questions regarding the money trail in the coal scam and he kept mum during the entire grilling session," an ED official said.

While talking to journalists after the interrogation, Banerjee asserted that he won't cow down to threats and summonses of the central agencies, and vowed to strengthen further movements against the saffron camp soon.

“I don't know how to compromise my integrity. If they (BJP) think they can scare me by using ED and CBI because I attacked his (Amit Shah's) son, they should know I will be more critical of them," he said.

Banerjee said the union home minister cannot escape the responsibility of coal pilferage and cattle smuggling as CISF and BSF, which are tasked with guarding coal mines and the Indo-Bangladesh border respectively, function under his ministry.

He claimed that Shah has only one job at hand - "indulge in horse trading of MLAs to topple elected state governments of opposition parties".

Shah should ensure that the law and order situation in Delhi, which is also under the Ministry of Home Affairs, improves, the TMC leader said.

The TMC national general secretary claimed that the BJP wants an opposition-free West Bengal and India.

“They want to score a goal on an empty field without opposition. The Congress and the CPI(M) are already reduced to zero, and the only hindrance remaining for the BJP is the TMC. So, they are targeting us relentlessly," he said.

Referring to West Bengal BJP chief Sukanta Majumdar's comments indicating that he might be arrested after questioning, Banerjee said, "Their statements show that it is the BJP which is deciding who will be questioned or raided next."

Majumdar and Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly Suvendu Adhikari have taken names on who would be targeted by the ED and CBI, he said.

The BJP dubbed Banerjee's allegation baseless and claimed that he is trying to play the victim card.

"If someone has committed no wrong, why is he afraid to face ED and CBI? If they are innocent, they will come clean. If anyone has committed a wrong, the law will take its own course. The BJP doesn't influence the investigation," BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said.

The TMC MP has earlier been questioned by the ED in the coal pilferage case in the agency’s office in the national capital.

The CBI has also interrogated his wife Rujira Narula Banerjee, her sister and her brother-in-law.

It is alleged that illegal mining of coal was done at leasehold mines of Eastern Coalfields’ in Kunustoria and Kajora areas near West Bengal's Asansol. Investigations have hinted towards financial transactions of 1,300 crore, the bulk of which went to several influential people, as per the CBI.

With inputs from agencies.

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