TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee’s sister-in-law Maneka Gambhir was on Saturday evening stopped by the ED at the Kolkata airport from flying abroad and was handed over summons to join investigation in a money laundering case, official sources said.
Gambhir had reached the airport to take a flight to Bangkok departing around 9 PM.
The sources said on Sunday that Gambhir was denied immigration clearance on the basis of a Look Out Circular (LOC) issued against her by the federal probe agency.
She was stopped by the immigration authorities and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) was informed following which they reached the airport, spoke to her and denied her permission to travel, they said.
The ED officials subsequently handed over summons to her seeking her appearance before the agency on Monday (September 12) at 11 am at its office in Salt Lake area in Kolkata for questioning in a money laundering case linked to an alleged coal pilferage case of West Bengal, the sources said.
She is understood to have left the airport for her Kolkata home around 10:30 PM on Sunday.
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 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.
Gambhir had challenged an ED summon 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 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. While Abhishek Banerjee has been questioned by the ED both in Delhi and Kolkata, Rujira has been questioned in Kolkata after she obtained a similar relief from the court like Gambhir.
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.