Coal Scam | Delhi High Court exempts physical presence of Rujira Banerjee before trial court in ED case

This is in connection with a money laundering case linked to an alleged coal scam in West Bengal

Updated - October 11, 2021 10:50 pm IST

Published - October 11, 2021 04:21 pm IST - New Delhi:

Delhi High Court. File

Delhi High Court. File

The Delhi High Court on Monday exempted Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee’s wife Rujira Banerjee from personal appearance before a trial court in connection with a money laundering case linked to an alleged coal scam in West Bengal.

Justice Yogesh Khanna granted Ms. Banerjee’s exemption from personal appearance for the time being after Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta, representing the Enforcement Directorate (ED), urged the court to take up her plea for hearing after the Dasara break.

“Till then, the lady client [Rujira] may not appear in person,” the Solicitor-General said. The trial court in Delhi had directed her to appear before it personally on October 12.

The High Court would now hear the plea on October 29. On September 30, the trial court had directed her physical presence on October 12 after she appeared virtually in relation to the complaint filed by the ED.

Ms. Banerjee had contended that the ED’s complaint against her was arbitrary, false, and an abuse of the process of law. The complaint had been filed to harass and cause prejudice to her and her family, the petition contended.

“A bare perusal of the impugned complaint confirms that the respondent agency [ED] falsely averred that petitioner had not complied with its illegal summonses [issued by the ED]... Owing to the fact that she is a mother of two young children and a resident of Kolkata, the petitioner has repeatedly requested that she be examined at her residence in Kolkata,” her plea said.

“The fact that the petitioner was in constant dialogue with the respondent in relation to the aforementioned summons clearly shows that there was no intention on the part of the petitioner to disobey the same,” the petition added.

The High Court was already seized of the couple’s plea seeking quashing of the summons issued to them by the ED.

The case had arisen out of an First Information Report (FIR) registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) with respect to alleged offences of illegal mining and theft of coal from the leasehold areas of the Eastern Coalfields Limited committed in West Bengal by certain individuals. Based on the FIR, the ED has registered an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR).

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