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Friday,24-September-2021

National News

Mamata Banerjee visited Abhishek before CBI arrived

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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday visited her nephew and Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha MP Abhishek Banerjee’s residence before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) interrogation of his wife Rujira in connection with the illegal coal mining scam.

The Chief Minister made an unscheduled visit to Santiniketan, Abhishek’s residence in Harish Mukherjee Road in south Kolkata, while on her way to the state secretariat Nabanno. She spent about 10-minutes with the family and was seen emerging from the building accompanied by Abhishek’s daughter, her grand niece.

Soon after Banerjee left the place, the federal investigation agency officials reached Abhishek’s residence to question Rujira Banerjee who was served with a CBI notice on Sunday.

Earlier, Rujira had responded to the CBI communication on Monday saying she was ready to be quizzed by the agency. She also asked the CBI investigators to visit her Harish Mukherjee Road residence between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Tuesday. Rujira also said that she was unaware of the reason for which she was being called for questioning and the matter of the investigation.

A five-member team of CBI’s anti-corruption branch had gone to Abhishek Banerjee’s south Kolkata residence on Sunday afternoon and served the notice. The Trinamool second-in-command’s wife was summoned for interrogation by the central agency sleuths. Rujira was not present at the residence when the CBI team had arrived.

The CBI had also summoned Rujira’s sister Menka Gambhir for interrogation. A CBI team, along with female officials, arrived at Menka’s high-rise residential complex at Panchashyar on Monday, at around 12 noon. The team, led by Umesh Kumar, had to wait at the main entrance for some time till they got the permission. Menka stays at Upohar Luxury Complex (Tower-3) near Kolkata’s EM Bypass. The interrogation went on for about three hours, sources said.

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Bombay High Court notice to 2 BJP MLAs in disqualification case

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Bombay High Court.

Bombay High Court.

 The Goa Bench of the Bombay High Court on Friday issued notices to two sitting BJP MLAs, including a deputy Chief Minister in connection with a disqualification petition filed against the two by the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP).

The notices were issued to Deputy Chief Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar and Public Works Department Minister Deepak Pauskar, both of whom split the regional party in March 2019 and merged their breakaway unit into the ruling BJP.

The next hearing in the disqulaification case has been scheduled for October 22.

In all 13 Congress MLAs and two MLAs from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party have joined the ruling BJP since 2019. Forty MLAs constitute the Goa legislative assembly. The state is heading for assembly polls in early 2022.

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Punjab CM gets Rahul’s nod for cabinet expansion list

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In a late night meeting which ended after 2 a.m. on Friday, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi gave his nod to a list with proposed names for the Punjab cabinet expansion, sources said.

Some new faces are likely to be inducted but it will not be entirely new and people from all backgrounds will be given chance to serve in the Channi cabinet.

Rahul Gandhi met Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi along with state in-charge Harish Rawat and General Secretary K.C. Venugopal late Thursday.

Ahead of the meeting Rahul had separate meeting with Rawat.

The party does not want to drop all the ministers in the past cabinet as it will strengthen former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s side. These MLAs could be crucial ahead of elections.

The former chief minister has spoken out in public that he is upset over the way his exit was engineered and that he was humiliated for not being taken into confidence before the big move.

He disclosed that he had offered his resignation to party President Sonia Gandhi three weeks earlier but she had asked him to continue. “If she had just called me and asked me to step down, I would have,” he said, adding that “as a soldier, I know how to do my task and leave once I am called back”.

Amarinder Singh has also said that he would fight Navjot Singh Sidhu’s elevation to Punjab Chief Ministership tooth and nail, and was ready to make any sacrifice to save the country from such a “dangerous man”.

Amarinder Singh said he will pit a strong candidate against Sidhu in the 2022 Assembly polls to ensure his defeat.

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AAP won’t be deterred by ED notices: Raghav Chadha

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AAP-leader-Raghav-Chadha

The Bharatiya Janata Party will not be able to deter Kejriwal’s cadre into submission via summons and notices, Aam Aadmi Party MLA Raghav Chadha said on Wednesday as he accompanied party’s national secretary Pankaj Gupta, who appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office regarding a money laundering case on Wednesday morning.

“Have a look at the timings of these notices. It came at a time when AAP is gearing for upcoming assembly election in the states of Uttarakhand, Punjab, Gujarat and Goa,” said Chadha while briefing media outside the ED office.

Calling the notice a “love letter”, the MLA further said that it is only because of AAP’s politics of sincere work that BJP is scared to such an extent.

“When AAP challenged BJP in its own ‘gadh’ (territory) Surat in Gujarat, it had to change its chief minister. Before that they had to change their chief ministers twice in Uttarakhand. We are confident of AAP coming to power in Punjab and Goa as well and it has only been possible because of our hard work,” he added, urging the saffron party to follow their lead.

Since the time AAP has formed a government in Delhi, we have received a summon or notice every assessment year. How many of BJP party leaders ever been treated the same way, he asked.

On September 13, the Enforcement Directorate issued summons to Aam Aadmi Party national secretary Pankaj Gupta in a money laundering case related to the Punjab former AAP leader.

“Gupta has been asked to join the probe next week,” said a senior officer with Enforcement Directorate adding that he has been summoned in a money laundering case in which Punjab former AAP MLA and Punjab Ekta Party chief Sukhpal Singh Khaira is being probed while also being investigated in a money laundering case.

India’s premier financial investigative agency — Enforcement Directorate — has also taken cognisance of two separate cases relating to drug trafficking and fake passport registered against Khaira.

The ED has alleged that Khaira is an “associate” of drug case convicts and fake passport racketeers.

The case against him pertains to the probe in a 2015 Fazilka (Punjab) drugs-smuggling case in which 1,800 gm of heroin, 24 gold biscuits, two weapons, 26 live cartridges and two Pakistani SIM cards were seized by security agencies from a gang of international drug smugglers.

The 56-year-old politician has denied any wrongdoing and had said he is being targeted by Central agencies as he has been vocal against the Centre’s farm laws.

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