New Delhi [India], September 28 (ANI): The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday opposed Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Abhishek Banerjee and his wife Rujira petition issued in connection with a money laundering case related to coal mining scam.
Appearing for ED, Solicitor General of India, Tushar Mehta called the petition premature and not maintainable.
SG Mehta raised the question and said, "They have challenged the summons and saying not stopping investigation? They also want to appear for investigation in West Bengal."
Senior Advocate Tushar Mehta also mentioned that the incident happened when the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had arrested TMC leaders in Kolkata and CBI officers were 'gheraoed' and stone pelted, he added.
Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for TMC leader objected to this contention and said, "Don't make political arguments here, don't talk of stone and Gherao etc. Make only legal submissions here."
The bench of Justice Yogesh Khanna on Tuesday adjourned the matter for Friday after noting down the submission by both sides in length.
The Delhi High Court was hearing Abhishek Banerjee's plea challenging ED's summons to him and his wife.
Banerjee earlier accused ED of selectively leaking information to the media with the intent of harming the reputation of the petitioners and encouraging a media trial. He also apprised the Court that his client had appeared before ED earlier and was grilled for 10-11 hours.
Senior Advocate Sibal earlier told the Delhi High Court that the probe agency that there is an embargo regarding his wife. She has to be interrogated at her residence, Sibal said, adding that a woman, a disabled person, a child should be investigated only where they reside and they can't be called to Delhi.
ED, earlier told the Delhi HC that there is a difference between probe in offences dealing with provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and in IPC offences, there are police stations that have jurisdiction. However, in PMLA there is no such territorial jurisdiction.
Petitioner Abhishek Banerjee along with his wife Rujira Banerjee sought the issuance of direction to the ED to not summon them in New Delhi and carry out any further examination in Kolkata, West Bengal.
According to the plea, the ED had on September 10, issued fresh summons to Abhishek Banerjee under Section 50 of the PMLA, 2002 requiring the personal appearance of him along with a voluminous set of documents on September 21, 2021, in New Delhi.
The petitioners alleged that they have serious apprehensions about the fairness of the investigation being conducted by the ED owing to the fact that the respondent is adopting a pick and choose attitude with respect to certain persons and is giving undue benefit and protection to complicit individuals and in return extracting false, baseless and malicious statements from them.
"The respondent agency is also selectively leaking information to the media with the intent of harming the reputation of the petitioners and encouraging a media trial, the details of which are further elaborated in the accompanying petition, in order to falsely embroil the Petitioners in baseless and scandalous allegations," read the plea.
The petition stated that the petitioner Abhishek Banerjee, is a politician hailing from the state of West Bengal and is presently serving as a Member of Parliament in the Lok Sabha, having been elected from the Diamond Harbour, South 24 Parganas constituency in West Bengal and hence is a respected individual and a prominent member of the Indian polity and society. He has two minor children under her care, said the plea.
In this particular alleged illegal coal mining case, in the state of West Bengal, the CBI had already interrogated Abhishek Banerjee. (ANI)