Bengal raises Centre-state dispute in SC

Wednesday 08th September 2021 07:29 EDT

Even as CBI and ED are both probing TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee in the coal scam case, the Mamata Banerjee government has raised a Centre-State dispute before the Supreme Court accusing the Centre and its probe agencies of violating federal structure of the country by registering cases in West Bengal despite withdrawal of general consent.

Appearing for the state, senior advocate Sidharth Luthra sought urgent hearing on the original suit filed by the state under Article 131 of the Constitution and told a bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana, and Justices Surya Kant and A S Bopanna that even after three years of the state withdrawing general consent to CBI for registration of cases pertaining to incidents in West Bengal, the central agency continues to breach the federal structure of governance by suo motu registering cases.

West Bengal said that it had withdrawn general consent in the year 2018, but even after that the CBI has registered as many as12 cases pertaining to incidents that took place in the state. Mamata Banerjee government said that law and order and police were constitutionally put under the exclusive jurisdiction of the states and that the registration of cases by the CBI were illegal and a transgression of the constitutionally distributed powers between the Centre and the states.

Among the12 CBI cases cited by the state was the alleged multi-million coal pilferage scam related to Eastern Coalfields Ltd mines in which, on the basis of the CBI case, the ED had registered case under Prevention of Money Laundering Act and summoned TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee and his wife Rujira. Abhishek has denied the charges. The agency has also arrested Vikas Mishra, brother of TMC youth wing leader Vinay Mishra who has allegedly left the country and renounced Indian citizenship.

Rujira expresses inability to appear before ED

Senior TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee’s wife Rujira expressed her inability to appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in New Delhi in connection with the coal pilferage scam citing the prevailing Covid situation, and requested the agency sleuths to visit her Kolkata residence instead. The ED had summoned Abhishek Banerjee, the TMC general secretary and Diamond Harbour MP, and his wife for questioning in a money laundering case linked to an alleged coal scam in West Bengal. Rujira was asked to the appear before the ED on September 1, and the TMC leader, who is the nephew of chief minister Mamata Banerjee, on September 6.

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