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Abhishek Banerjee, wife to inform ED before traveling abroad: SC

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New Delhi [India]: The Supreme Court on Friday said that TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee and his wife Rujira Banerjee have to inform the Enforcement Directorate (ED) before travelling abroad and seek necessary order.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) SV Raju, appearing for ED, apprised the bench of Justices S K Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia that Abhishek Banerjee has already travelled abroad.

ASG Raju told the court if the Banerjee couple inform one week in advance about their travelling plans, necessary orders will be issued. The court asked the ED to withdraw Look Out Circular (LOC).

“In any case the LOC shall stand withdrawn,” the court said. The court was dealing with the Banerjee couple’s plea seeking to travel abroad. ASG Raju said that permissions have been granted from time to time.

The court noted that despite intimation in advance, Rujira was stopped at the airport. It also observed that pendency of LOC creates a scenario that someone can be stopped somewhere and leads to waste of judicial time as well the time of the concerned parties.

The Supreme Court in its last hearing sought to know from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) whether a Look Out Circular (LOC) has been issued against TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee and his wife Rujira Banerjee in  relation to the money laundering cases connecting to alleged coal irregularities in West Bengal.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal and advocate Sunil Fernandes appeared for Rujira. In the application filed by Rujira Banerjee, she has sought direction to ED to cancel/rescind/withdraw the Lookout Circular issued against them prohibiting her from travelling abroad.

According to the application Rujira Banerjee was detained along with her minor children at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata by the respondent ED and restrained from travelling to Dubai on June 5, despite prior intimation of the travel details to the ED on June 3.

The ED had lodged a case under the provisions of the PMLA based on a November 2020. FIR registered by the CBI has alleged a multi-crore coal pilferage scam related to Eastern Coalfields Ltd mines in the state’s Kunustoria and Kajora areas in and around Asansol. Banerjee has denied all charges.

Meanwhile in another petition, the court has asked ED to file a reply on the plea and adjourned the matter. Abhishek Banerjee has challenged the summons issued against him in the matter.

Abhishek Banerjee has sought quashing of the Summons dated September 10 2021 issued to him by ED under Section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA), and issuance of an appropriate order, directing the respondent to not issue any Summons under Section 50 PMLA to the couple for their appearance in Delhi rather than their hometown in Kolkata.

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