Kolkata’s Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Airport was abuzz with hearsay on Saturday, March 16 that Rujira Banerjee, the wife of the second-in-command of TMC and Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee was caught with 2 kgs of gold, reports MyNation.
As per the report, the lady flew in on a Thai Airways flight from Bangkok and while passing through normal screening, was found carrying two kilos of gold.
When customs officials questioned her about the gold, which was approximately valued at Rs 68 lakh, she reportedly called up her husband Abhishek Banerjee, who is Lok Sabha MP from Diamond Harbour. Soon, several senior Kolkata Police officers reached the airport and tried to allegedly whisk her away.
This resulted in a run-in between the local police and the customs officials, however, ultimately the matter got resolved, said the report. It is still uncertain whether the gold was seized by the customs or whether a case was registered against Abhishek Banerjee’ wife.
This news has led to a political storm where political parties are questioning the West Bengal Government. BJP leaders have called for a detailed inquiry.
Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta attached a photograph of a news item that appeared in a local Hindi newspaper on Sunday on his twitter handle and asked for an inquiry.
Similarly, Babul Supriyo also tweeted about it and dropping obvious hints as to who was the accused, assured his followers that he is acquiring details of the incident.
Woman caught with a Thai Passport carrying more than 2 KILOs of Gold – when everyone knows she is voter of South KOL • No prize for guessing who the Lady of the Young Powerful Politician IS !! We shall ensure a thorough enquiry is done on this !! pic.twitter.com/N40WwXFgVl
— Chowkidar Babul Supriyo (@SuPriyoBabul) March 18, 2019
Meanwhile, State BJP Mahila Morcha chief, Locket Chatterjee also took to Twitter to post a link of the news report and demanded a statement from Abhishek Banerjee.
This is BIG!!
Can @abhishekaitc issue a statement on news of her wife caught with 2 kg of gold? Serious charges of smuggling.
— Chowkidar Locket Chatterjee (@me_locket) March 19, 2019
As reported by Republic TV, a complaint has now been filed against Abhishek Banerjee. The report says:
Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee has been named in Kolkata airport 2kg gold seizure complaint after a standoff customs department versus the city police. “The complaint details Kolkata police’s alleged intervention in the matter adding that it had warned the customs officials that they should “release immediately (Banerjee’s wife) or face problems”. The complaint also said that two women passengers, one of whom is Abhishek Banerjee’s wife Rujira Naroola, after being asked to show their passports and eventually their luggage, resisted following the instructions from the officials. The complaint also says the women passengers abused female officials who had come to check their bags”.
The TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee, who was targeted by the CPI(M) and BJP for his burgeoning assets (Rs 1.52 crore in 2014) and controversial bank transactions but was shielded by the party, rose from the oblivion in less than five years and secured the ‘number two’ position in the Trinamool Congress.
Note: After this story was published, we got contacted by the representatives of Abhishek Banerjee was his wife. The representatives have denied that any such incident took place. They have asserted that the wife of Banerjee was not carrying any gold at all. She was travelling with her sister who was required to identify the belongings in her bag which was duly identified and found to be not violating any statutory limits. They have also denied that any kind of political influence was used.