BJP approaches EC over Kolkata airport wrangle

BJP

Kolkata, March 25 A day after Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee described as “baseless” the allegations that his wife Rujira was caught at the Kolkata airport for carrying gold, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday approached the Election Commission (EC) demanding the Bidhannagar Police Commissioner be held “responsible” for the alleged police interference, if “prima facie any such incident happened”.

In a letter to the state’s Chief Electoral Officer, the BJP said: “There has been serious allegations that wife of a very influential leader of the ruling party of the state was intercepted with unauthorised gold on March 16, 2019 while returning from Thailand.

“It was alleged the local police interfered in the discharge of duty of the Customs authorities within the premises of the international airport at Dumdum for the release of the passenger and the unlawful material.”

The BJP also said Bidhannagar Police Commissioner Gyanwant Singh “should be held responsible if prima facie any such incident happened”.

According to the BJP, the Customs authorities reportedly filed an official complaint on the incident at the airport police station on March 22.

“If this complaint is a fact, then the said police Commissioner Gyanwant Singh should be shifted from his post immediately, otherwise normal investigation will not be possible at all,” the BJP said in the letter.

Refuting the charges against his wife, Banerjee, the nephew of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, had said on Sunday he was “open to any form of investigation” to unearth the truth.

Challenging the Customs authorities to prove that his wife was carrying even two grams of gold when she reached the Kolkata airport from Bangkok on the intervening night of March 15 and 16, the Lok Sabha member from Diamond Harbour had asked if his wife was travelling with gold, “why wasn’t the gold confiscated or seized.”

“If at all the local police had obstructed the Customs officials in the discharge of duty, why didn’t they seek help from the CISF personnel who guard the airport,” Banerjee said.

According to Banerjee, Rujira had also filed a police complaint on March 16 against the way she was “harassed and heckled” by the Customs officials, which was later converted into an FIR as per a court directive following a preliminary enquiry.

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