TMC's Abhishek Banerjee to be summoned by CBI again, BJP predicts

The BJP predicted that TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee will be summoned by CBI in the coming days in connection with scams ranging from school jobs to alleged coal smuggling

Press Trust of India Kolkata
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The BJP on Sunday predicted that TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee will be summoned by CBI in the coming days in connection with scams ranging from school jobs to alleged coal and cattle smuggling in West Bengal.

Leader of opposition in the assembly, Suvendu Adhikari, told reporters on the sidelines of a state executive meeting that Banerjee might have felt angry for being interrogated for over nine hours by CBI on Saturday but that does not matter.

"He seemed to be upset for being questioned by CBI for so many hours. But as the probe into the SSC scam, coal smuggling cases is gaining momentum with more arrests, if he is summoned for such grilling again in the coming days, he should not cry. He has to prove his innocence before the investigators. This is a court-monitored probe," the Nandigram MLA said.

Echoing him, BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar told reporters, "After the interrogation for nine hours Abhishek Banerjee's body language and reaction indicate that the questions were sharp and he is frightened.

"This is just the beginning and many more calls are waiting from CBI and ED".

BJP national vice-president Dilip Ghosh said, "We will come to know about the outcome of the interrogation of Abhishek Banerjee soon and his future destination."

Reacting to BJP's tirade against Banerjee, TMC state spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said, "A vindictive government at the Centre, after the debacle of its party in West Bengal assembly elections, is using central agencies to harass and intimidate our leaders like Abhishek Banerjee on trumped up charges.

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The CBI called the TMC leader for questioning on a day's notice and he complied, but despite nine hours of grilling they could not scare him, Ghosh said.

The more BJP uses such a gameplan, the more people of Bengal will fight unitedly against these forces. We are not shaken, the BJP is shaken by seeing the massive support of people for Abhishek Banerjee and Mamata Banerjee," the TMC state spokesperson said.

Turning to a different issue, BJP's Dilip Ghosh said the dates of the panchayat polls were yet to be announced though 80 per cent of people of the state live in rural areas.

If the panchayat election is not held in time, all the development work will be stalled," Ghosh said.

At the executive meeting, the leaders decided to embark on Maha Jan Sampark Abhiyan' from the end of this month in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha polls to reach out to the people.

"Our meetings will witness the real 'jan jowar' (sea of crowd), not the 'jan sanjog yatra' (mass outreach programme) of Bhaipo' (nephew)," Adhikari said.

Abhishek Banerjee, the chief minister's nephew is referred to as 'Bhaipo' by BJP leaders.

CBI officers questioned Banerjee, who appeared before them Saturday as part of the agency's probe into the school jobs scam, for more than 9 hours before letting the young politician off.

Banerjee told newspersons keeping vigil outside the CBI's office at Nizam Palace here, that the questioning was a waste of time for both him and the investigative agency's officers, but that he "cooperated in all that was asked".

After emerging from Nizam Palace, he claimed the real reason why he was called in was because he had refused to be a "pet dog of Delhi's bosses" and that is why he has been "targeted".

Banerjee's name cropped up in a complaint filed by Kuntal Ghosh, a local businessman and an accused in the school jobs scam, where he alleged that central investigating agencies were pressuring him to name Abhishek Banerjee in the case.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: May 21 2023 | 7:47 PM IST

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