ED summons Abhishek, TMC leader declines to comply


The Enforcement Directorate (ED) summoned senior Trinamool Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee on Thursday, asking him to appear before its officers on 13 June in connection with its investigation into the primary school jobs scam in West Bengal.
Banerjee, considered number two in the party, declined to comply with the notice, citing his engagement with an ongoing mass outreach campaign and upcoming panchayat polls. The notice was served hours after the central agency grilled Banerjee’s wife, Rujira, for nearly four hours in connection with the coal pilferage case.
“I won’t be able to go to the ED office as I will be busy with the mass outreach programme and campaigning for the panchayat polls, which will be held on 8 July,” he said. Banerjee, the TMC national general secretary, expressed his willingness to cooperate with the ED by providing the required documents and said he could “attend the questioning only after the conclusion of the panchayat polls”. He said he is not obligated to appear before investigative agencies at their whims.
“Abhishek Banerjee has been asked to appear before our officers on 13 June at our Kolkata office at 11 a.m.” We have called him for questioning for the alleged illegal appointments in different state-run and aided schools,” an ED official said. The officer said that the questioning will mainly be focused on inputs received from arrested accused Sujay Krishan Bhadra, aka ‘Kalighat er Kaku” (uncle of Kalighat), and Kuntal Ghosh.
“We needed to cross-check him on the answers from Mr. Bhadra and Mr. Ghosh. We also have questions based on our findings about the scam,” he said. The TMC MP was grilled by CBI officers at their Kolkata office for over nine hours on 20 May in connection with their investigation into the primary school jobs scam.
Later in the night, while addressing a press conference in Nadia district, Banerjee said “he does not have time to waste” as he considers the questioning “pointless”. “Today, my wife was questioned. The ED then sent me a notice to appear before it on 13 June. Let me make it very clear that I am not a servant of the BJP and that I have to appear before the (central) agencies whenever they want.”
The ED has so far arrested West Bengal’s former education minister, Partha Chatterjee, his friend, and several TMC leaders, including MLAs and education department officials, for their alleged involvement in the multi-crore scam.