Kolkata: Pressure is mounting on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress (TMC) from the Central agencies. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has started an investigation into the post-poll violence under a court order and its officers have started touring the districts in this regard. Mamata Banerjee, who lost the seat she contested from in the Assembly elections, will have to get elected by 5 November, but the Election Commission has not yet announced the date for the byelection, and this, sources said, is making the Trinamool leader nervous.
In a sign of mounting trouble, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has now summoned the TMC’s “All India General Secretary”, Abhishek Banerjee and his wife Rujira Narula to Delhi for questioning in a case of alleged financial embezzlement in a coal scam. Rujira Narula has been called to appear on 1 September. Abhishek Banerjee has been summoned on 7 September for co-operation in the investigation. Apart from Abhishek Banerjee and Rujira Narula, three IPS officers have also been summoned. According to ED sources, the ED notice reached Abhishek Banerjee and his wife on Thursday. However, no response has been received from them so far.
According to sources, IPS Selva Murugan, Gyanwant Singh and Shyam Singh have been summoned on 8, 9 and 10 September. The ED had called the IPS officers in late July and early August as well. But the three officers did not appear at the time, citing “personal reasons”. So the notice was sent to them again. A lawyer close to Abhishek Banerjee has also been summoned on 3 September.
According to ED sources, a third notice was sent to Abhishek Banerjee in this case. It is learned that the notice has been sent seeking his cooperation in the investigation of the coal case. Earlier, CBI detectives had interrogated his wife Rujira Narula at his Kolkata residence. Another relative of Abhishek Banerjee had to face questions. However, Abhishek Banerjee has not yet had to face the CBI or the ED. If he appears for the 6 September meeting, this will be the Diamon Harbour MP’s first meeting with the central agency.
However, on the founding day of the Trinamool Chhatra Parishad, on Saturday, challenging Amit Shah, Abhishek Banerjee said that there was no point intimidating him with the CBI and ED, as the BJP would lose. Mamata Banerjee said that the Centre was feeling cornered in politics and was thus using the agencies. Speaking at a meeting, Mamata Banerjee said: “Coal is not the responsibility of the Trinamool Congress. Coal is the responsibility of the Union government. If you have the power, fight politically with Abhishek.”
Meanwhile, the CBI went to Nadia district to investigate the untimely death of a BJP worker, after which there was a protest in front of the CBI office. The incident sparked tension in the Hridoypur gram panchayat area on the India-Bangladesh border in Nadia on Saturday. The CBI detained two people in connection with the post-poll violence in Nadia’s Chapra. This was in connection with the murder of Dharma Mandal. This is the first arrest after the investigation started into post poll violence in Bengal. The CBI is also investigating several police officers of the state. This has resulted in the Bengal administration coming under immense pressure.
Politically, the TMC will launch a campaign to counter the agencies’ action, but for now its main challenge is to keep the morale of the grassroots workers intact, especially if party workers and those in administration start getting arrested in the post-poll violence investigation.