Kolkata: Senior BJP leader from Bengal Swapan Dasgupta on Tuesday demanded that chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee, along with the West Bengal Police, answer five questions regarding the FIR lodged against his wife Rujira by the Customs department. 

MyNation, on March 24, raised the very same questions.

Also read: Customs moves against Mamata kin, Kolkata cops after MyNation story, to start own probe

MyNation was also the first to report that Rujira, who is also the Diamond Harbour MP, was allegedly caught with 2 kg unaccounted-for gold on March 16, along with a woman companion, at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport (Dum Dum airport). The duo was flying back from Bangkok by a Thai Airways flight (TG 313). 

5 questions from Dasgupta to Abhishek

 1.  Abhishek Banerjee has to answer why should any bona fide passenger in India resist having their bags checked? If they have nothing to hide, why should they prevent their bags from being checked, which is apparently what these two ladies did?

2. Why were the police allowed to enter a sanitised area, which is the exclusive jurisdiction of the Customs; and why the local police threaten Customs officers that they should not search their bags and let them go?

3. Banerjee should answer why the next day, the police came in (at the airport) once again, demanding to arrest the three Customs officers who had questioned them (the two women)? Where did this order come from? The police did not give themselves this order.

4. On March 16, at 11 am, the police and the Customs met and on the basis of the FIR that was filed, the police demanded from the Customs that a new standard operating procedure. It was demanded that anybody declared by the Kolkata, West Bengal or the Bidhan Nagar police to be a VIP should automatically be allowed to go through the green channel.

In other words, all the laws of the country are being violated and police’s proposal is that there should be two classes of citizens — VIP and non-VIP — and for VIPs green channel is an automatic route. We need not even have the Customs Act.

5. Who gave this proposal?  The FIR says it was the police. However, the police do not give proposals automatically; they act under certain instructions. Where did these instructions come from? Abhishek Banerjee should answer.

The incident 

The Customs has moved the Kolkata police with a request to file FIR against Rujira, her companion Menka Gambhir, and police officials who had “interfered, obstructed and threatened” customs officials for checking Banerjee’s baggage.

According to the Customs’ complaint, Rujira and Menka declined to show their passports after several requests. They also declined to submit their luggage for X-Ray scanning.

On scanning, the officials apparently found the two were carrying jewellery. The duo “abused” and “threatened” the customs official who wanted them to open their bag with “dire consequences”, the complaint said.

Also read: TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee's wife caught with 2 kg gold?

The police “were physically present during the Customs examination…and all of them were insisting repeatedly to release the said passenger and her companion. They were interfering in the discharge of duty by the Customs Officers and pressurising them”, the complaint said.

The department has also complained that police came and “enquired about the names of the officers on duty who were involved in intercepting the lady passengers and examining their baggage”. 

The police, the customs department added, “proposed preparation of a common SOP” for easy passage of VIPs “without any interception by Customs in the green Channel”. A repeat of the incident, the police said, would be “viewed seriously and severe action will be taken” against customs officials.

Abhishek, however, has so far rubbished the charges. He has said that he would quit politics if the charges were proved. Alleging political vendetta, he said, "If that was so, why wasn't it confiscated? Was the ‘chowkidar’ sleeping?” He rubbished media reports as "baseless”. He also claimed that his wife was “not carrying even two grams of gold”.