In the coal smuggling case, the Supreme Court agreed to grant protection to Trinamool MP Abhishek Banerjee and his wife Rujira. She was also allowed to be questioned in Kolkata, West Bengal, by the top Court. It also resolved to look into the legal question of whether such protection should be limited to women or extended to everyone.
The Enforcement Directorate and the Ministry of Home Affairs have both received notice in this regard. On March 21 and 22, the ED summoned Abhishek Banerjee and his wife Rujira to its Delhi office for questioning. Banerjee and his wife had already challenged the ED’s summons in the Delhi High Court, but the court refused them relief. The parliamentarian has claimed repeatedly that the ED should question him and his wife in Kolkata rather than Delhi.
When Rujira failed to appear in Delhi for questioning by the ED, a bailable warrant was issued. The central agency was told by Justice UU Lalit: ‘We will give protection to the man (Abhishek Banerjee) also. In case you want to interrogate you have to give a 24-hour notice.’
At the same time, the Supreme Court advised Abhishek Banerjee that if he is called for questioning, there should be ‘no protest or vandalism.’ ‘If any hooliganism takes place, we will withdraw the protection,’ the court said.